Roger Bourgein: We live in interesting times

Exmouth Remembrance Sunday Picture: Exmouth Photo Services

Exmouth Remembrance Sunday Picture: Exmouth Photo Services - Credit: Archant

Town crier Roger Bourgein writes for the Exmouth Journal

Misty quiet morning, silence in Strand, burnished parade-gloss feet move wreaths among the Ziggurat-like steep and high steps of Exmouth war memorial.

Remembrance Day, November 8 2020, public not permitted, full Covid-19 risk assessment spaces the few attendees two metres apart.

The big circle has been marked in areas, ‘VIPS-1’, ‘VIPS-2’ until you come to the final one marked ‘Noise’, there are to be found the priest, the trumpeter, the piper and the town crier!

Our service begins, so quiet I cannot hear but I know this tradition of old, I have chosen to stand on the narrow circle of pebbles around the memorial, my long-Covid-19 condition includes loss of balance and having to stand upright and still for well over one hour, I need the stimulus of those pressure points pushing into my feet, as I play the pedals in my mind.


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Now the time arrives to announce those laying wreaths. Ah my role! I lift my chest, fill my lungs from the misty wraiths and certainly not sotto voce deliver unto the by now maybe 500-strong still and respectful throng a mighty ear shattering roar!

That’s what town criers do! For the next 20 minutes I’m announcing wreaths and speeches as they come and go.

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Suddenly I notice the figure of Andy Green, Exmouth Air managing director, approaching, he sticks a microphone and stand in front of me, spins on his heels and over his shoulder throws: “Can’t hear ya mate”!

Well if there’s one thing a town crier is always certain of then it’s being heard!

But I’m not rattled, I’m grateful for his professionalism, and his microphone,

I ended that day thanking Si Reed, the man who wrote the plan and the endless documentation that a Covid-safe ‘public’ event requires in today’s England.

I wandered away remembering that old Chinese proverb, ‘May you live in interesting times’.

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