"In writing fiction, the more fantastic the tale, the plainer the prose should be. Don't ask your readers to admire your words when you want them to believe your story." - Ben Bova [ more quotes ]













HOPE AND GLORY

An Original Screenplay
by
John Boorman
























Fourth Draft.1986
Copyright (c) 1986 John Boorman.
All Rights Reserved.



FADE IN:

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - BACK GARDEN - SEPTEMBER 1939 - DAY

COLOUR

Raking down a line of suburban gardens lit by a late-summer
sun. Heads move back and forth above the fences that divide
the narrow strips of land, moving to the sound of unseen
lawn mowers.

In one of these gardens two children, BILL (aged eight)
and his sister SUE (aged six) disport themselves. They are
sprawled out on the lawn, heads and hands intent on
something hidden from view in the lush vegetation of a
rockery garden. Beneath those flowers and plants is a dark
and mysterious forest, shaded by huge leaves, and broken
up by towering boulders. Mounted figures of medieval knights
ride in, guided by BILL'S gigantic hand. A wizard appears
in the path of the riders who draw up sharply. BILL gives
an impression of neighing horses. SUE'S face looms up
between large leaves. She makes the sound of spooky wind.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - DINING/LIVING ROOM - DAY

In the penumbra of the room, the mother, GRACE, in droopy
flowered frock, crosses, floats towards the walnut wireless
and, with trembling hand, switches it on. Its green dial
glows with stations like Droitwich and Hilversum. She glides
back and drapes herself behind an armchair in which her
husband, CLIVE, sits solemn and motionless.

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - GARDEN - DAY

The sound of the lawn-mower ceases abruptly. BILL looks up
sharply. The neighbours' heads come to rest on top of the
garden fences. They turn, listening. BILL inclines his
head towards the french windows, sensing the dread moment.
He walks towards the door and is framed there. He regards
his parents.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - DINING/LIVING ROOM - DAY

They look back with unseeing, inward-turned eyes. Young
BILL gathers confused fragments of the fateful announcement.

CHAMBERLAIN (V.O.)
...those assurances... by eleven
o'clock... a state of war... that
this country... at war with Germany.

The boy catches his mother's eye. She smiles en embarrassed
smile. The boy is embarrassed by her embarrassment. His
father's glassy solemnity angers him. In the garden, SUE
sings.

SUE (O.S.)
(singing)
Flat foot floogie with a Floy Floy.

BILL turns to his sister.

BILL
Stop that, Sue!

CLIVE is startled out of his funereal reverie.

BILL
She just sings it. She doesn't
know what it means.

An older sister, DAWN, a tumescent fifteen, stumbles into
the room in a nightdress.

DAWN
Where are my stockings? I can't
find my stockings!

Her mother, GRACE, interrupts her with outstretched arms.

GRACE
Dawn, darling. They've started a
war again.

GRACE says it as though announcing that dinner is served,
but her voice is torn by a sob as she holds DAWN in her
arms.

GRACE
(whispering and
sobbing)
We mustn't frighten the little
ones.

DAWN is appalled by her mother's display of sentiment. She
wrenches free.

DAWN
I don't care! I want my stockings!

CLIVE get's up, blazing. He seizes DAWN and shakes her.

CLIVE
Stockings? War! Don't you
understand! War!

DAWN
I don't care!

CLIVE
War! War!

GRACE inserts herself between them.

GRACE
Clive. Don't. Dawn, please.

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - GARDEN - DAY

BILL calls out from the garden. He is jumping up and down,
pointing at the sky.

BILL
German planes! German planes!

They run out. GRACE sweeps little SUE into her arms, buring
her face in her bosom and rushing back into the shelter of
the house. DAWN and CLIVE scan the sky for planes, There
are none.

BILL
I did see them. I did.

DAWN
He's the worst liar.

DAWN swings a fist at BILL and chases him into the room,
raining savage blows upon him.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - DINING/LIVING ROOM - DAY

Father is white with rage. He seizes them, one in each
hand. Mother cowers with SUE.

CLIVE
These are the fruits of my loins?

DAWN lunges at BILL. The GRANDMOTHER enters, tall, frail,
elegant, ga-ga, deaf.

GRANDMA
Is it peace in out time?

GRACE
(shouting)
No, Mother! It's War! War!

GRANDMA
Or what?

GRACE:
War! War! War!

The wireless begins to play 'God Save the King'. Father
immediately lets go of the children and stands rigidly to
attention. The others simmer down and shuffle into stiff
and still poses. GRANDMOTHER, who perhaps cannot hear the
Anthem, is baffled, shakes her head.

EXT. ROSEHILL AVENUE - DAY

The sirens sound. A shocking blast of noises, the sickening
ululations of the air-raid warning. They call out over the
rows of bow-fronted semidetached, lower-middle-class houses.
Some of the occupants, more daring or more confused than
their neighbours, burst out of their front doors, turning
in frenzied circles, craning at the heavens.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - DAY

The rigid family once more jerks into movement at the sound
of the siren, looking forcefully out of the french windows,
hiding under the table, clutching each other. The siren
stops. They wait, anxiously. Silence. Even the birds stopped
singing at the wailing of the first siren. This was perhaps
the worst moment of the war, the first moment, when war
was still an unknown dread thing. The siren again, but
this time, a long sustained note.

CLIVE
That's the all-clear. Testing.
They were just testing.

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - GARDEN - DAY

CLIVE walks tentatively into the garden, looking up,
shielding his eyes against the sun. The others join Him,
one by one.

GRACE
Such a beautiful day too.

All search the clear blue sky. The sound of the lawn-mower
starts up again where it left off before the war.

SUE
(singing)
Flat Foot Floogie with a Floy Floy.

INT. CINEMA - DAY

BLACK AND WHITE

A Ministry of Information film advises and demonstrates
how to glue strips of paper to windows to avoid flying
glass, and how to construct an air-raid shelter. On the
soundtrack, in addition to the patronizing commentary voice,
is the sound of hundreds of screaming children.

BILL and SUE sit among the children's matinee audience.
The children pay no attention to the screen, but fight and
shout, throw things at each other, jump over seats, cry,
wander up and down the aisles.

The soundtrack changes to dramatic music and a
transformation takes place. All movement and talking ceases.
Hundreds of rapt faces stare at the screen where Hopalong
Cassidy rides into action.

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - GARDEN - DAY

COLOUR
CLIVE has put an Anderson shelter
at the end of the small garden, He
is shovelling earth on to its humped
corrugated metal roof. His friend,
MAC, is watching him.

CLIVE
Going to put a rockery garden over
it, Mac.

BILL's voice echoes from inside the shelter.

BILL (O.S.)
Dad. It's full of water again.

CLIVE and MAC peer in to see the boy splashing up and down,
water over his ankles. He clutches his submerged foot in
mock agony.

BILL
Crocodiles! Aah!

CLIVE
The sodding water table.

MAC
Could you seal it over with hot
pitch, Clive? Caulk it like the
hull of a ship.

CLIVE
(caustic)
Thanks. I hope you can come for
the launching.

INT/EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - KITCHEN/GARDEN - DAY

The windows are criss-crossed with brown paper. Beyond, in
the garden, MAC has taken off his jacket and is shovelling
earth onto the shelter. BILL walks barefoot towards the
house, carrying his wet socks and shoes in his hands.

MOLLY
It's not fair on them. It's selfish
to keep them with you.

GRACE
My aunt in Australia has offered..

BILL sits on the steps at the half-open kitchen door and
wrings the water from his socks. SUE comes in and GRACE
signals MOLLY to be circumspect, but she blunders on.

MOLLY
Snap it up. Great chance for them.
Lot more future out there.

BILL listens, talking it all in. GRACE Watches little SUE
waddle out carrying planes.

GRACE
It's so far way. I couldn't bear
it.

MOLLY
Kids don't care. You're thinking
of yourself.

GRACE turns away. Fighting back tears. MOLLY impulsively
takes GRACE in her arms.

MOLLY
I didn't mean it like that, Grace.
Why does it always come out wrong?

GRACE
I know you mean well.

MOLLY laughs and holds her at arms length.

MOLLY
There you go again. You're so bloody
nice. I want to shake you.

She does, mock serious.

GRACE
Nothing will ever be the same again,
Molly. And the funny thing is, I'm
glad.

MOLLY looks at her, surprised.

MOLLY
Now you're talking.

SUE listening to this, sees BILL on the steps and gives
him a questioning look. He shrugs, trying to conceal his
anxiety from his sister.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - DAWN'S BEDROOM - DAY

DAWN lies in bed, head buried in pillows in that deepest
of all sleep, the Sunday morning adolescent lie-in. BILL
shakes her, jumps on top of her, imitates an air-raid
warning, tries to pull off the bedclothes but she holds
them tight.

BILL
There's a soldier at he door,
looking for you.

She whips back the sheet, wide awake. One look at his face
is enough to see that he is lying.

DAWN
You're the biggest fibber.

BILL
It's dinner time. It really is.
Cross my heart.

She snakes out an arm and pulls him into bed. She rolls on
top of him, tickling him and smothering him with kisses.

DAWN
If there's no soldier, I'll have
you instead.

He giggles and struggles, gets into a panic, but she is
merciless, won't stop. Finally he starts to cry. She leaps
out of bed, disgusted with him.

DAWN
Cry baby Bunting.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - GRACE'S BEDROOM - DAY

CLIVE rummages in the wardrobe, chuckling to himself. He
finds his Sam Browne belt and Army cap from the First Wold
War.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY

MOLLY and GRACE and GRANDMA have 'gin and its', the men
brown ale. They are in high spirits. SUE is doing a puzzle
on the floor. MOLLY shouts into GRANDMA'S ear.

MOLLY
Few bombs might wake up this
country.

GRACE fills MAC'S glass in a tender gesture. A look passes
between them. MOLLY is a friend and wife, they love and
suffer in common. DAWN appears, wearing a defiant slash of
lipstick.

GRACE
I doubt if a few bombs would wake
up Dawn on a Sunday morning.

DAWN
This phoney war get's on my nerves.
If we're going to have a war, I
wish they'd get it started.

GRACE
Just ignore her, Mac.

CLIVE appears having stripped to the waist but wearing his
Sam Browne from the First Wold War. They all shriek with
laughter. CLIVE, encouraged by this response, does drill
movements and then demonstrates how to salute.

CLIVE
There are many ways of saluting..
(he demonstrates.)
..An old soldier insulting a young
subaltern.

His hand flies to his forehead, gouging the air, the salute
transformed into an obscene gesture. More laughter.

CLIVE
As an officer, you counter that
with one of these.

He raises his arm slowly and languidly until his limp hand
just brushes his temple. A faraway look in his eyes disdains
any acknowledgement of the insulting salute. A tiny skirmish
in the class war.

BILL and SUE swing on the leather straps of the Sam Browne.
They want him to stop. They sense something dangerous,
alien, their father in an unfamiliar role, another person.

The wireless has been on all this time, playing music and
now come the chimes of Big Ben. It is news time. The adults
are suddenly stock-still and serious, leaving the children
stranded in an excited state..

NEWSREADER (V.O.)
Here is the news and this is Alvar
Lidell reading it.

The children are told to be quiet. The room becomes a frieze
of portentous concentration.

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - GARDEN - DAY

BILL slips into the garden, looks up at the leaden sky
imploringly.

BILL
Come on. Come on.

The news bulletin filters out into the garden. Norway has
fallen, perhaps, or Churchill become Prime Minister.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - DINING ROOM - DAY

The meal has been eaten. They are animated again, but more
reflective, DAWN is winding wool with GRANDMA. BILL and
SUE have also left the table. BILL is looking at the Sam
Browne, now slung over the armchair, with its tangy smell
of deep polish like shiny milk chocolate, a mysterious
icon of war. The conversation at the table drifts over to
him.

MAC
...It was a toss-up. His company
went to India, mine went to France.
Flip of a coin.

CLIVE
...two Indians to fan me all night.
The heat.

MAC
....buried In a shell-hole for
thee days, while he's out there
playing polo and sticking pigs.

GRACE
It was the best time of his life.

MAC
How many of our class left? You
and me out of twenty-eight.

CLIVE
And Jim.

MAC
What's left of him. He'll never
see outside of the Star and Garter.

BILL sinks his teeth into Same Browne. He bites hard and
is pleased to see that his teeth marks go quite deep into
the leather.

CLIVE
I rode into battle...

DAWN, winding wool, knows this speech by heart and mimes
it silently with her father.

CLIVE
...On horseback, with a drawn sword,
leading a battalion of Gurkhas
against the Turks.

GRANDMA watches DAWN'S moving lips and strains to hear.

GRANDMA
I can't hear you.

MOLLY
And where were the Turks?

She also knows the story.

GRACE
No Turks.

CLIVE
We didn't know that. It was a
suicide mission. Machetes against
artillery. Volunteers only.

GRACE
They'd gone.

MOLLY
Saw Clive coming.

They all have a good laugh at CLIVE'S expense and he takes
it well enough. BILL drifts over to his lead soldiers spread
out in a corner of the room. They are an eclectic mix of
cowboys, Indians, the Medieval Knights, as well as modern
militia and a few farm animals.

CLIVE
We all had to write a last letter
home.

GRACE
And it was the last. Hasn't written
a letter since. Not even a birthday
card.

BILL sets a mounted knight against a clutch of modern
infantry.

MAC
It's not like when you're in it.
Just young boys spilling their
guts in the mud.

DAWN
What were they like, the Germans,
when you were a prisoner of war?

BILL looks up with interest. The others fall silent.

MAC
Most of them were very decent to
me.

MOLLY
I wish you wouldn't go saying that.
You'll get into trouble.

DAWN
You can speak German, can't you?

MAC
A bit.

DAWN
Say something. I want to know what
it sounds like.

MOLLY
Certainly not!

MAC
In den ganzen Welt die meisten
Leute sind dumm.

MOLLY
Not so loud!

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - DINING ROOM - DAY

Later. The two men are in post-prandial sleep in the
armchairs on either side of the fire. Sounds of washing up
and women's voices come from the kitchen. BILL walks up
very close and examines the two warriors from the Great
War, or the First World War, as it was now coming to be
known. Their mouths are open, slack. His father's false
teeth click up and down as he breathes. MAC shifts his
backside in his sleep to let a fart up from the side of
the leatherette armchair. BILL looks at CLIVE's mottled
skin, the stubble, the sagging epidermis around the eyes.
He goes to the mantelpiece and takes down a silver-framed
picture of his father as a baby-faced second lieutenant
wearing that same Sam Browne. BILL holds the picture next
to his father's snoring face. Once again, a new bulletin
begins on the ever-playing wireless.

BILL
Dad, the News. It's the News.

CLIVE stirs.

CLIVE
Go off and play, son.

BILL shakes him.

BILL
But Dad, It's the News.

CLIVE
Thanks, son. I can hear it. I'm
not sleeping, just closing my eyes.

BILL is confused. He still feels it is his duty to wake
him.

BILL
(shouting)
The Germans! They've landed!

GRACE and MOLLY appear at the door, alarmed. The men sleep
on.

BILL
Only joking.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - CHILDREN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

BILL and SUE are in two beds, side by side. Between them
is a crystal set and they are sharing the earphones
listening to Itma or Much Binding in the Marsh. Their door
is half open and a gust of shots and cries rises from below.
BILL gets up and goes to the door.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - HALLYWAY AND LANDING - NIGHT

BILL and SUE venture out on to the landing and peer through
the banisters to the hallway and front door below.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - HALLWAY - NIGHT

MAC and MOLLY are leaving, as CLIVE and GRACE help them on
with their coats. They have had a few more drinks, and are
making sentimental farewells.

MOLLY
Bloody gin. Always makes me cry.

MAC
Got some wires crossed. Only weeps
when she's happy.

GRACE
You're making me start now.

MAC embarrasses her.

MAC
Now, now Grace.

He turns to CLIVE and takes him by the shoulders. They are
both quiet drunk.

MAC
Root it out Clive... the thought
of it, before it takes hold.

CLIVE
Weeds will grow, Mac.

MAC
Consider Grace, the kids. I love
them like my own. And you.

CLIVE
Kiss me Hardy.

As he mentions the children Molly wails anew.

MOLLY
Why couldn't I have the kids? Is
he sitting up there... saying...
"Grace, yes; Molly, no?"

GRACE holds her tight.

GRACE
Better off, Molly. What's to become
of the poor mites!

SUE'S face creases and tears well up. BILL puts a protective
arm about her.

MAC
You're a mug, Clive. We did our
bit in the Last Lot.

CLIVE
If King and Country call, Mac, you
go as soon as I will.

MAC'S face goes white with anger.

MAC
What did we know? We were seventeen.

CLIVE
(with a far-off
look)
I heard the drum and fife yesterday,
Mac, marching past. Made my hair
stand on end. I thought, I've
been asleep for twenty years.

MAC wants to hit him. He turns away, trembling.

MAC
Go the Hell.

He puts an arm about MOLLY and plunges into the blacked-
out dark-winter-night. As GRACE turns back, she glimpses
the children on the landing above.

GRACE
Do you know what time it is? Go
back to bed, this instant.

They dart out of sight.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - CHILDREN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

BILL and SUE slide under the bedclothes. SUE is whimpering.

BILL
We're not going to be like them
when we grow up. We're not even
like them now.

He picks up the earphones and twiddles with the crystal
wireless. It is the News again. BILL fiddles with the lead
soldiers, his eyes getting heavy.

EXT. BATTLEFIELD - DAY

BLACK AND WHITE

Infantry advance as shells bust all about them. CLIVE and
MAC push forward, side by side. MAC is hit, goes down,
cries out for help, but CLIVE does not seem to notice.

A muddy field. Silence. Aftermath of battle. BILL searches
among the dead. They are half-buried, covered in mud, all
one texture with the earth. BILL finds CLIVE and MAC, lying
side by side, dead. He is quite unconcerned, pulls his
father's Sam Browne which slips off easily. He wipes the
mud away and starts to eat it. It seems to be made of
chocolate.

EXT. SUBURBAN STREET - DAY

COLOUR

A 1938 Vauxhall 12 is parked outside a recruiting centre.
A boisterous crowd of young men mills about, passing in
and out, encouraging each other, cheering each new man who
steps out a soldier. Next door is a pub and there is a
continuous exchange of customers between the two
establishments. BILL and SUE wait inside the car. She is
whining in the back, sucking her thumb. BILL sits in the
driving seat, pretending to drive, making all the right
noises.

SUE
He's never going to come back.
He's gone off to be a soldier and
Mummy doesn't even know.

BILL
It doesn't matter, I can drive the
car home.

SUE
You wouldn't.

BILL
Would.

SUE
You couldn't.

BILL
Could.

CLIVE, arm in arm with a PAL, comes out of the pub and
over to the car. He gets in after much handshaking and
back slapping.

CLIVE
Sorry, kids. Joined up. I needed
some Dutch courage to tell your
mother.

The PAL opens the passenger door and leans in.

PAL
Never say die!

CLIVE
Steady the Buffs.

PAL
Up the Arsenal!

CLIVE leans across and slams the door closed. The PAL waves
at the window. CLIVE pulls away. The PAL runs alongside,
waving. CLIVE laughs and waves back.

CLIVE
He's one of the best.

Still the PAL keeps up with the car, running frantically.

SUE
Daddy you shut his hand in the
door.

The PAL jumps on the running board and crouches there, red
faced, eyes bulging. He waves desperately at the window.

CLIVE
The silly bugger.

He pulls up the and opens the door. The PAL clasps his
hand and writhes in agony.

CLIVE
You silly bugger. We're trying to
win a war and you start off by
shutting your fingers in the bloody
car door.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - GARAGE - DAY

CLIVE is putting the car on blocks, taking off the wheels.
BILL helps him.

CLIVE
That's it for the duration.
(runs a duster over
the bodywork)
I shall miss the old girl. Pop in
and give her a polish, Billy boy.
Just now and then. A car needs to
be cherished.

GRACE has appeared at the door and heard some of this.

GRACE
Has Sue got it right?

CLIVE
What's that?

GRACE
You joined up.

CLIVE
Oh, that.

GRACE
I wish you could have told me
yourself.
(he takes Grace in
his arms.)
Oh, Grace, it's not for long.
They say it'll be over by Christmas.

CLIVE laughs and tickles her, trying to get round her,
keep it light. GRACE laughs despite herself. BILL makes a
face, disgusted by the show of sentiment.

GRACE
Don't be so daft. Act your age.
(extricates herself)
I can't cope on my own. I'd better
let the children go.

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - GARDEN - DAY

CLIVE leads BILL out on to the lawn, goes down on one knee
and puts his hand on the boy's shoulder. He looks solemnly
into his son's eyes.

CLIVE
Billy boy. Before I go, there's
something I want to tell you.
You're old enough now. It's time.
(produces a cricket
ball from his
pocket.)
The Googly. Your hand is too small
to master it, but not to start
practising. Anyway, I'm going to
pass on the secret now, father to
son, in case anything happens to
me.
(demonstrates)
You know the off-break, right?

He flicks the ball out of his wrist. BILL nods.

CLIVE
And the leg-break?

BILL knows that too. The ball comes out of his hand,
spinning the other way.

CLIVE
Now, the googly looks like a leg
break, but it's really an off break.
Got it? Like this.

BILL
It's like telling fibs.

CLIVE
That's it. When you tell a lie,
you hope to get away with it.
When someone else does, you want
to find them out. A good batsman
will spot a googly. A good bowler
will hide it. Always remember that,
son.

BILL flicks the ball this way and that, experimenting.
CLIVE watches him tenderly, a moment of perfect harmony.
He folds BILL in his arms, holding him fast.

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - FRONT DOOR - DAY

BILL swings on the front gate looking back at his mother,
SUE and DAWN bidding their farewells to CLIVE in a confusion
of tears and forced gaiety.

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - FRONT GARDEN - DAY

CLIVE finally strides away, head high, a military spring
already in his step. Behind him GRACE shuts the door as
though closing a chapter of their lives.

BILL
Dad! Dad!

CLIVE, now some twenty yards away, looks back. BILL throws
the cricket ball and CLIVE catches it neatly. He smiles
and marches down Rosehill Avenue. BILL is puzzled as CLIVE
shows no sign of returning the ball. He calls after him.

BILL
Dad!

CLIVE is now eighty yards down the street. He suddenly
turns smiling broadly, and with a prodigious throw he send
the ball in a high arc towards his son. BILL juggles his
position, cups his hands, gets under it as the hard, heavy
ball hurtles downwards. At the last moment he loses his
nerve and jumps back, letting the ball thump onto the lawn.
He looks towards CLIVE, full of shame. BILL is relieved to
see that CLIVE has turned the corner.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY

BILL winces as he and SUE are passed from hand to hand,
hugged and kissed by many female members of the family -
DAWN, GRANDMA and GRACE'S three sisters, FAITH, HOPE and
CHARITY. MOLLY is on hand with MAC, the only male. On the
table are the remains of the farewell party, an iced cake,
balloons, gaudy wrapping paper. Encouraging cries fly about.
"Aren't you lucky?" "Isn't it exciting?" "I wish I could
hide in your suitcase." From the smothering embraces, BILL
casts a pleading look to MAC who reaches out and hauls him
from the women.

MAC
You survived that. The war should
be no problem.

GRACE ties a label to BILL'S lapel. It declares his name
and other details.

GRACE
Time to go.

She leads the children out MAC follows, carrying two
suitcases.

EXT. WATERLOO STATION - DAY

MAC and GRACE lead BILL and SUE into the concourse where
hundreds of children are assembled, each wearing an
identification label. The noise is overwhelming. The
organizers shout into megaphones. One buy has fainted and
is put on a stretcher by St. Johns Ambulance men and, to
get through the crowd, they hold the stretcher above their
heads. The boy recovers, sits up and waves to his friends.
The parents throng behind the barrier and they follow him.
WOMEN'S VOLUNTARY SERVICE (W.V.S) Volunteers stand by.

W.V.S. WOMAN
Australia?

GRACE nods. The W.V.S WOMAN examines the labels on SUE and
BILL and checks them against her list. The steam ad noise
have suffocating effect on GRACE.

W.V.S. WOMAN
Say goodbye and pass them through.

GRACE weeps as she embraces SUE. BILL fights back the tears
and turns away embarrassed when his mother wants a kiss
from him.

BILL
I'm going to miss the war and it's
all your fault.

They are sucked into the enclosure and quickly disappear
among the throng of refugee children. GRACE tries to follow
with her eyes, searching for them hungrily. They disappear.
MAC flinches at the pain he sees in her face. She lunges
forward, and tries to push through the barrier.

GRACE
I can't do it. What's the point?

MAC
It's just the wrench, Grace. It's
for their sake.

He tries to restrain her, but she breaks free.

GRACE
Let me through, I want my children.

W.V.S. WOMAN
No one goes in there. You signed
the forms, didn't you?

GRACE
Yes, I did. And now I want them
back.

W.V.S. WOMAN
Too late. Plenty of others would've
been glad of their places.

The W.V.S. WOMAN and an ARP MAN are forcibly holding her.
MAC cannot bear to watch her pain. He leaps over the
barrier, grabs SUE and BILL and hoists them out of the
pen. BILL is acutely embarrassed at the scene his mother
is making. He struggles to get free of MAC.

BILL
Let me alone. I want to go. I want
to go.

MAC swings them over to GRACE. She snatches up SUE and
hugs her. Over the child's shoulder her eye is drawn to a
poster depicting a ghostly Hitler hovering over a mother
and her children. He whispers in her ear "Take them back".

BILL
In front of everybody. They were
all looking at us. Why did you
have to do it?

GRACE is shattered, drained. She becomes calm almost dreamy.

GRACE
Please yourself.
(turns to Mac)
Let them go, if they want.

MAC
Grace!

GRACE turns back to the barrier, which is still defended
by the W.V.S WOMAN with the clipboard.

W.V.S. WOMAN
Changed your mind?

GRACE
Yes.

W.V.S WOMAN
Well, you're too late. Apply again.
On your head be it.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

BILL glues balsa wood wings on to a model Spitfire.
Opposite him, across the dining-room table, GRACE is cutting
something out of the newspaper. DAWN'S school books are
spread out on the table, but she has abandoned them in
favour of a dancing lesson by Victor Sylvester on the
wireless. She steers her imaginary partner between the
furniture, her face concentrates, trying to follow the
steps.

VICTOR SYLVESTER (V.O.)
Slow, quick, quick, slow. Right
forward.. left together.. Three,
four.. Back together.. Turn..
One, two.. Quick, quick, slow.

GRACE crosses the room towards the kitchen. DAWN passes in
from of her and she falls into step partnering her daughter
in the dance.

DAWN
You know it? It must be an old
one.

GRACE
Ancient. Have you finished your
homework?

DAWN
After this dance.

She mouths the steps, "Forward..quick, quick, slow"

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT

GRACE pins the newspaper cutting to a bulletin board which
also displays a 'war map' with pins in it showing the
progress of hostilities. The cutting is a David Low cartoon
showing a soldier standing defiantly on a rocky promontory
looking across a stormy sea towards France, saying 'Very
well alone.' She is deeply moved by it. BILL enters and
watches her, sensitive of her mood, but he has a mournful
duty. He takes out the pins, representing the German Army
in Russia.

BILL
I've got to move the Germans to
Minsk. They've taken Minsk.

GRACE lays a restraining hand on his shoulder.

GRACE
Tomorrow. Give them one more night
of freedom. Move them in the
morning.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

Swirling to the dance music, DAWN comes face to face with
the clock on the mantelpiece and registers the hours. She
dives for the wireless and searches for another station.
She is satisfied when she hears the stenorian tones of
Lord Haw-Haw's nightly propaganda broadcast from Germany.

DAWN
Quick! Lord Haw-Haw! He's starting.

BILL scampers in. GRACE hovers by the door.

LORD HAW-HAW (V.O.)
..the soldiers like to wager among
themselves, what day will the German
army enter Moscow? One thing is
certain: much sooner than anyone
thought. From here in Berlin,
listeners in Britain, I can give
some very definite news. There
will be a bomber raid on London
tonight, the fourteenth night in
succession. Look out for bombs if
you live in Carshalton or Croydon.
There will be incendiary attacks
if you live in Fulham and
Hammersmith. And watch out in Kew;
be alert in Walthamstow.

BILL looks at his mother, DAWN gets up and goes over to
the wireless, staring at it.

BILL
That's us.

GRACE
It's just German Propaganda.

DAWN
He always knows.

GRACE
Half the time he's bluffing.

A moment of dread hangs over the room. GRACE summons her
resolve and bustles over to the wireless and snaps it off.

GRACE
Bill, off to bed.

She gives him a shove towards the door to silence his
protest. She takes DAWN by the shoulder and presses her
into a chair and pushes her head into her homework.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - CHILDREN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

Sirens are sounding, one after the other, some distant,
some close, then the one at the end of the street, like
dogs howling in the night waking other dogs. Three German
bombers, a Heinkel, a Dornier and a Stuka, fly in formation
across the black sky. GRACE appears behind the model planes,
which hang on threads from the ceiling, wakes BILL and SUE
and they stumble out of bed.

INT. ROHAN'S HOUSE - STAIRS - NIGHT

GRACE leads BILL and SUE down the stairs. They sleep on
their feet in this familiar routine. DAWN is still dressed
below, playing dance records on the gramophone and finishing
homework.

GRACE
We better go to the shelter.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

They open the French windows and fierce wind cuts into the
room.

DAWN
It's freezing out.

GRACE hesitates, then closes the windows.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - HALLWAY - NIGHT

They squeeze themselves into the tiny space under the
stairs, close the door and light a candle. BILL and SUE
complain irritably as they try to arrange their limbs. The
shoving and pushing wakes them up.

GRACE gives each of them a biscuit from a tin.

DAWN
What would we do if a German came
into the house?

GRACE
Don't be silly, Dawn.

DAWN
Well, why do you always bring the
carving knife in here?

DAWN picks up the knife, pretending to hear someone outside
the cupboard door. She presses her ear to the thin wooden
partition. BILL'S eyes bulge. He is half convinced. Even
GRACE looks uneasy. SUE, reacting automatically to crisis,
pulls on her red and white 'Mickey Mouse' gasmask. Suddenly
DAWN thrusts the knife through a crack in the boards. She
makes a blood curdling cry.

GRACE slaps her, amused, despite herself. BILL seizes DAWN
from behind and pulls her back on top of him. They writhe
and giggle. BILL cocks an ear.

BILL
Flak!

They are stock-still, straining to hear. He is right. The
anti-aircraft guns have started up. Their crisp 'crump'
sound gets closer and more frequent. Another separate sound
intrudes - falling bombs. The explosions are at regular
intervals, each one louder than the last.

BILL
Basket bombing Counts between the
bombs Two and three and four and
five and six and..

The next bomb falls closer.

GRACE
Why didn't I take you to the
shelter?

Her hands tough and caress the children, as though weaving
a protective charm over them.

BILL
...four and five and six and...

Another, louder still. They sit tense and straining every
muscle, willing the bombs away.

GRACE
If only I'd let you go to Australia.

BILL
...and five and six and...

It is deafening, shaking the house.

DAWN
The next one is ours. Either it
hits us or it goes past us.

BILL
...and four and five...

DAWN
Please God. Not on us. Drop it on
Mrs. Evans. She's a cow.

BILL
...and six...

It drops, some way past them. They slump exhausted against
each other. A fire-engine bell approaches. The flask goes
on. DAWN gets up, untangles herself from the others.

DAWN
I'm not going to die like a rat in
a trap. Let me out of here.

Staggers out of the cupboard.

DAWN
I'm going outside.

BILL scrambles after her.

GRACE
Wait. Don't.

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - NIGHT

DAWN runs out. Searchlights criss-cross the sky. Anti
aircraft shells make little white puffs in the black sky,
the sound coming much later. Up the road, a house is
blazing. A fire engine swings by. ARP MEN run in the street.
DAWN dances in the tiny front garden.

DAWN
Quick, quick.. slow, quick, slow.

BILL hesitates in the porch.

DAWN
It's lovely. Lovely. Does little
Billy want to see the fireworks?

BILL runs out, sees something by the kerb and picks it up.

BILL
Shrapnel! And it's still hot.

He tosses it from hand to hand. At the far end of the
street, the skyline of central London is silhouetted against
a burning sky. GRACE suddenly laughs at the sight of the
burning house down the street. She is shocked at her own
reaction.

GRACE
Come in at once, or I wash my hands
of you.

A shell bursts right overhead and they duck into the open
doorway. The four of them are framed there, looking up at
the savage sky where the Battle of Britain rages. BILL
watches enraptured.

EXT. THE CITY OF LONDON - NIGHT

BLACK AND WHITE
St. Paul's sites at the heart of
the blazing city.

EXT. STREET - DAY

COLOUR
DAWN, in school uniform, rides off
on her bicycle. BILL and SUE come
out with satchels and gasmasks.
GRACE watches them making their
way along the street scarred and
damaged by the night's bombing.
PEOPLE scratch in the rubble to
salvage their belongings.

BILL'S eyes are fixed on the ground searching from shrapnel.
Now and then he stops to retrieve a piece. SUE dawdles
along behind him, one foot in the gutter, the other on the
kerb.

BILL looks up as he hears a voice groaning from a bomb
site. SUE is now some way ahead. The street is suddenly
deserted. He looks back at the bomb-scarred house. The
front of the house is gone and flowery wallpapers are
revealed. The voice cries out again, a panting, rasping
moan. BILL ventures forward. Now a WOMAN'S VOICE, groaning.

MAN'S VOICE (O.S.)
Oh fuck... oh fuck... oh fuck...

A white hand and forearm stretch up from the debris. BILL
shifts position until he can SEE TWO HEADS, a MALE and
FEMALE, pressed against a mattress which is leaning against
a broken wall. He darts back on the street and looks for
help. The street is still deserted. He hesitates, then
runs up the street for all he is worth.

EXT. SCHOOLYARD - DAY

BILL and SUE are late. They run into the yard where the
other children are already lining up in their respective
classes. The HEADMASTER is a wizened Welshman, too old for
military service. He struts up and down.

HEADMASTER
Dressing from the right!

He points an accusing finger at BILL.

HEADMASTER
Late! My study before prayers.

They shuffle into their correct spacing.

HEADMASTER
Eyes front! Keep still down there,
you little ones. It's discipline
that wins wars.

Inspects his troops.

HEADMASTER
Now quick march. Left... right...
left... right. Swing those arms.

FLASH CUT:

INT. HEADMASTER'S STUDY - DAY

BILL flinches and winces as the cane strikes his hand.

INT. SCHOOL ASSEMBLY HALL - DAY

The children are praying, eyes closed, hands joined. On
the dais, the teachers, mostly women, are lined up.

HEADMASTER
Oh God, bring destruction to our
enemies. Make these young one's
true soldiers of the Lord. Guide
Mr. Churchill's hand in the cunning
war.

Some of the boy's covertly swap pieces of shrapnel and
cigarette cards as the HEADMASTER'S tirade grows in passion,
but BILL is mesmerized and fearful of this daily rhetoric.
He blows on his hands, shakes them to alleviate the pain
inflicted by the caning.

HEADMASTER
Let our righteous shells smite
down the Messerschmitts and the
Fokkers.

FLASH CUT:

INT. HEADMASTER'S STUDY - DAY

BILL'S face, twisted in anxious anticipation, awaits the
next blow.

INT. SCHOOL ASSEMBLY HALL - DAY

HEADMASTER
Lord, send troublesome dreams to
Herr Hitler. Let him not sleep the
sleep of the innocent. And comfort
our warriors at the fronts. Brighten
their swords, burnish their bullets
with your fire.

FLASH CUT:

INT. HEADMASTER'S STUDY - DAY

BILL jerks convulsively and grins as the cane connects.

INT. SCHOOL ASSEMBLY HALL - DAY

The HEADMASTER reaches a climatic peak, then is silent,
head sinking to his chest. He continues, very quietly.

HEADMASTER
We beseech Thee, Oh Lord, to have
mercy on these Thy children.

FLASH CUT:

INT. HEADMASTER'S STUDY - DAY

BILL suffers another whack.

INT. SCHOOL ASSEMBLY HALL - DAY

HEADMASTER
We dedicate our studies this day
to the war effort.

INT. CLASSROOM - DAY

BILL covertly shows the welts on his hands to his neighbour
as he and thirty other nice-year-old children are harangued
by a large red-faced woman, their TEACHER. She sprays a
lot of saliva as she speaks. A coloured linen projection
of the world is hung over the blackboard. She slaps it
with her cane, pointing to many countries .

TEACHER
Pink... pink... pink... pink...
What are the pink bits, Rohan?

BILL stands up, still seeking balm for his hands - he has
them tucked under his armpits.

BILL
They're ours, Miss.

TEACHER
Yes, the British Empire.

A boy, HARPER, sits in front row and is in saliva range.
Each time the TEACHER turns back to the blackboard, the
boy wipes his desk flamboyantly with a cloth, much to the
spluttering amusement of his classmates.

TEACHER
Harper, what fraction of the earth's
surface is British?

HARPER
Don't know, Miss.

TEACHER
Anyone?

A girl shoots up her hand. JENNIFER BAKER.

JENNIFER
Two-fifths, Miss.

TEACHER
Yes. Two-fifths. Ours. And that's
what the war is all about. Men are
fighting and dying to save the
pink bits for you ungrateful little
twerps.

The pinched little faces find this notion difficult to
absorb. They stare back blankly at the British Empire. A
SIREN SOUNDS an air raid warning.

TEACHER
Books away! Scramble!

They grab their gasmasks and run from the class, cheering.

EXT. SCHOOLYARD - DAY

The children swarm to the shelters, which are long narrow
concrete structures in sandbags to absorb blast.

INT. SHELTERS - DAY

The children file in mostly, laughing and chatting. There
are clattering duckboards on the ground affording cover
from an inch or two of water. Along each side of the
shelters are narrow benches. The children sit facing each
other. The HEADMASTER'S steel-studded boots hammer noisily
down the steps. He raises his arm high.

HEADMASTER
Gasmasks on!

They open up their cases and pull on their masks. The
HEADMASTER conducts their breathing,. Moving his arms up
and down to indicate a rhythm.

HEADMASTER
Slowly... in... out...don't panic...
in... out...

There is a HISSING SOUND as they inhale, then a RASPING
comic RASPBERRY as the air is pushed out of the sides of
the rubber masks.

HEADMASTER
In... out... These masks are given
to us to filter away abominations
of the enemy.

He marches up and down in the narrow gap between the scabby
knees of children.

HEADMASTER
Now, nine times table. One times
nine is nine...

The children's muffled voices chant the multiplication
table rubbery GURGLING SOUNDS merge from the gasmasks.
Hidden behind his mask, BILL finally gives was to angry
tears. He sticks out his tongue as the HEADMASTER passes
by.

HEADMASTER
Two times nine is eighteen...
(And so on)

EXT. ROSEHILL AVENUE - DAY

BILL and SUE turn into their street on their way home from
school, looking lifeless and dull, but their faces lights
up with excitement as the fifty-foot length of a BARRAGE
BALLOON suddenly rises from behind the houses to the distant
SOUND of CHILDREN CHEERING. They sprint into their house.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - DAY

BILL and SUE run through the hallway and into the living
room, scattering satchels, hats, gasmasks in their wake.
Their excitement is far too intense to explain to the
startled GRACE. They burst out through the French Windows
into the Garden.

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - GARDEN - DAY

They run to the back fence. In the waste ground beyond the
garden, where a further row of house was to be built when
war intervened, BILL and SUE witness a TEAM of mostly
AIRWOMEN, (WRAFS) intent on launching the BALLOON Some
twenty WOMEN, each holding a tether, are paying out their
lines under the rhythmic commands of their LEADER. There
is a c able attached to the winch mounted on a TRUCK, and
this is wound out as the balloon rises. The balloon has a
comforting, humorous aspect, and the children laugh and
giggle as they watch.

NEWSREEL

BLACK AND WHITE

Like a school of basking whales, barrage balloons fill the
sky. It Is a newsreel of the Battle of Britain. A dramatic
scene follows: A DOG FIGHT between SPITFIRES and GERMAN
BOMBERS. A patriotic, punning commentary, pulsating music.

INT. CINEMA - DAY

COLOUR
GRACE and her three children are
glimpsed in their seats, watching.
BILL is totally engrossed,
enthralled. Out of habit, he
simulates the engine noise of the
planes and the clutter of cannon
fire.

Suddenly a caption is superimposed on the screen:

AIR RAID IN PROGRESS - YOU ARE ADVISED TO TAKE SHELTER.

GRACE leads them out. They shuffle up the aisle, dragging
their feet, watching over their shoulders as they go.

BILL
Can't we just see the end?

DAWN
They've got the real thing outside.

BILL
It's not the same.

EXT. ROSEHILL AVENUE - DAY

A number of PEOPLE have come out of their suburban gardens
and look up at the pale-blue-winter sky. GRACE, SUE and
BILL are among them.

A SQUADRON OF SPITFIRES is attacking a formation of GERMAN
BOMBERS. They are distant black dots high above the barrage
balloons. The planes WHEEL and DIVE and give a splendid
display of AEROBATICS. Being so high, there is almost no
sound of engines or cannon and the feeling of unreality is
heightened.

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - FRONT GARDEN - DAY

One of the GERMAN PLANES is HIT as the PILOT leaps from
his burning plane and a PARACHUTE blossoms and checks his
fall. GRACE draws the children back into the corner of
the house as the PLANE CRASHES. They creep out again. The
dog fight continues but the German planes have lost
formation and dispersed. The battle has become straggly
and is rapidly disappearing from view. Meanwhile, the
PILOT'S PARACHUTE drifts ever CLOSER as he descends, causing
great excitement.

EXT. ROSEHILL AVENUE - DAY

NEIGHBOURS run in the direction of the FALLING AIRMAN.
Some WOMEN carry garden forks and others pick up rocks on
the way. GRACE and the children hurry back into the house.

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - GARDEN - DAY

They go out through the back gate to join an excited throng
of NEIGHBOURS.

EXT. BUILDING SITE - DAY

The PILOT drifts on to the wasteland where the barrage
balloon bravely flies. People rush in from all sides, as
he makes an elegant landing and gathers his parachute. A
crowd of women, children and OLD MEN encircle him. He looks
no more than twenty-years old. The crowd watches every
move he makes. They edge back as he reaches into his pocket.
But it is only a silk handkerchief that he pulls out. He
wipes his hands, puts it away. He moves to an empty oil
drum and sits on it. He crosses his legs and carefully
lights a cigarette. His affects the greatest nonchalance
as he smokes. A little way off a huge hoarding gives the
impression of the houses that were to be built on this
site, an idyll of suburban bliss. The PILOT looks at the
idealized family group on the poster and then at GRACE and
her children. He smiles ironically.

GRACE
England is so beautiful, and he
had to land here of all places.

Finally, a rather aged POLICE CONSTABLE arrives on the
scene. The onlookers thrust him forward. He advances a few
paces, the stops. Hesitating, quite at a loss. He looks at
the PILOT then back to the crowd. They egg him on.
Resolutely, the CONSTABLE pulls out his truncheon and steps
forward.

CONSTABLE
Now then. Now then.

The German PILOT gets languidly to his feet. The POLICEMAN
Retreats a pace. A TITTER or two ripples through the crowd.
Encouragingly, the PILOT half raises his hands in the 'stick-
em-up' position, the cigarette held delicately between the
pale fingers. It is a taunting but oddly gentle gesture.
The CONSTABLE takes him by the arm and leads him off. The
crowd opens up to let them pass. As he does, DAWN catches
his eye and he winks at her. She gives him a flirtatious
smile. GRACE is horrified. She seizes DAWN and forces her
face against her own breast, hiding her gaze from the
lewdness of the enemy.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - DAWN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

DAWN is bent over, looking between her legs at BILL as he
tries to draw a stocking seam up the back of her calf. He
must continuously lick the brown crayon. She holds a hand
mirror in such a way that she can see the progress of his
work.

DAWN
It's crooked. Rub that bit out and
do it again.

She cuff's him and he resumes. He stops halfway up her
thigh.

DAWN
Well, keep going. Don't stop now.

He goes higher, then hesitates again.

BILL
Nobody is going to see this far
up.

She leers at him.

DAWN
Don't be so sure.

He blushes. She stands up and pirouettes, her flared skirt
swings out, exposing her knickers.

DAWN
When I jitterbug.

INT. DANCE HALL - NIGHT

DAWN, swinging as she jitterbugs with a young CANADIAN
SOLDIER, BRUCE. They are good. He hoists her over his
shoulder. They whirl and swirl. The music changes to a
slow waltz.

BRUCE
It was great for me, how was it
for you.

DAWN
A bit too quick.

BRUCE
Well. Now we can do it slow. Are
those some kind of stockings you're
wearing?

DAWN
They might be.

BRUCE
I mean, no suspenders. They just
kinda' disappear up your ass.

She slaps his face. He Holds up his hands in mock horror
and backs away.

BRUCE
Quit it. Help me someone. The girl's
beating on me.

Jeers and laughter from fellow CANADIANS on the dance floor.
DAWN turns and walks off, head in the air, but not
forgetting to wriggle her bottom as she goes. BRUCE grins
admiringly and stalks after her on tiptoe. His pals love
it.

EXT. SKY - DAY

BLACK AND WHITE

A SPITFIRE is attacked by a GERMAN PLANE. The pilot twists
and turns away, trying to escape. The pilot is BILL! His
eyes bulge with fear as the enemy bullets rip into his
fuselage. The rat-a-tat of the gunfire wakes him up.

INT. ROHAN'S HOUSE - CHILDREN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

COLOUR

BILL opens his eyes, and they alight upon his MODEL SPITFIRE
suspended on a thread over his bed. The cannon fire
gradually resolves into a TAPPING on the WINDOW. Blearily
he gets up and unlatches it. A dishevelled DAWN climbs
through, threading her way between the model airplanes
hanging from the ceiling and stepping down over the table
on which BILL has his shrapnel collection spread.

BILL
(whispering)
Mind that shrapnel DAWN thrusts a
brass regimental hat badge in BILL'S
face.

DAWN
(whispering)
I'm starting my own collection.

BILL
(impressed)
It's Canadian. Where'd you get it?

She pockets it and creeps out of the door, smiling smugly.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - DAWN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

DAWN pulls back the covers and slides into bed, fully
dressed. She is asleep as her head hits the pillow. A
distant SIREN starts-up,warning of an air-raid.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - GRACE'S BEDDROOM - NIGHT

GRACE is instantly alert as the SIRENS call to one another,
coming CLOSER. She throws on her dressing-gown, pulls on
her fur-lined boots, picks up the ever-packed bag at her
bedside and hurries out of the door.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - CHILDREN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

GRACE shakes BILL and SUE awake.

GRACE
Bill, Sue. Air-raid!

They tumble out of bed and into their dressing-gowns like
automata.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - DAWN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

GRACE enters, shakes DAWN who does not respond. GRACE pulls
back the covers and is surprised to see DAWN fully dressed,
wearing make-up and with slightly crooked seams down the
back of her legs.

GRACE
Dawn, what have you been up to?

DAWN murmurs her protest. GRACE pulls her out of bed, but
DAWN crawls back in.

DAWN
I'm not going to that shelter.
I'd sooner die.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - STAIRS - NIGHT

BOMBS are already falling. GRACE switches on a light and
hurries down the stairs leading her two children through
the familiar routine. She calls back. BILL bumps down the
stairs, on his bottom, half asleep.

GRACE
Dawn! Come down here!

She starts back up the stairs, but is halted by a BOMB
dropping close by. She runs down again, scoops up the two
little ones and heads from the living room.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

As they approach the French windows, another BOMB EXPLODES
very close by. Before its sound is heard, there is a
tremendous BLAST, which rips off the blackout curtains and
sends them floating into the room. The WINDOWS are TORN
OUT and most of the fragmented glass hangs limply from the
brown paper that criss-crosses the panes for just this
eventuality.

Every loose object is hurled inwards. The room light
flickers on and off and shell-bursts illuminate the room
from without. GRACE and the children are thrown back against
the wall, but before they hit it the process is reversed
and the blast is sucked out again. They are pulled back
towards the windows together with the glass and loose
fragments of the room. This all happens slowly as though
the room is filled with water and the windows were a
reversible sluice gate. SUE'S long blonde-hair is first
blown, then sucked across her face. Then comes the SOUND
of the EXPLOSION itself, Which seems to have the effect od
draining water from the room. The People and the bric-a
brac all drop to the floor, dead weights once more.

The children clutch their ears, SCREAMING. GRACE has one
or two cuts. She gathers up the children, spreading her
blood on them, and frightens herself, confused as to whom
the blood belongs. She wipes it away, crying out a desperate
prayer.

GRACE
Please, God. Take me, but spare
them.

She carries SUE and drags BILL through the shattered French
windows, out into the garden and towards the Anderson
shelter.

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - GARDEN - NIGHT

Two more BOMBS EXPLODE, further way, but still close enough
for the blast to force them off balance. They stumble and
fall, covering their ears against the pressure. They tumble
into the SHELTER, stepping into several inches of water.
The ack-ack keeps up the barrage, and the EXPLODING SHELLS
intermittently LIGHT UP the SKY. GRACE, mumbling Dawn's
name, clambers out of the shelter to fetch her.

GRACE sees DAWN coming down the garden. She looks dazed as
she staggers quite slowly with one arm wound around her
head. As she gets closer, GRACE sees that her eyes are
glazed and she is MOANING. GRACE leads her into the SHELTER
and covers her with a blanket. SUE is fast asleep already
in spite of everything. DAWN looks at her mother accusingly.

DAWN
You don't care if I die. How could
you leave me there? Even if you
don't love me?

DAWN desperately wants her mother to take her in her arms,
but GRACE sits stiffly upright, unyielding.

DAWN
Tell me the truth. You had to get
married, didn't you? Because of
me.

GRACE
The ideas you get in your head.

DAWN
That's why you never liked me.
I'm different from you. Well,
everything's different now, so it
doesn't matter. So there.

Finally DAWN bends forward and puts her head on her mother's
lap and cries, at first softly, the more bitterly. GRACE
holds her and rocks her at last. BILL watches this,
perplexed, as perhaps he always will be, by the complex
emotional interplay that passes between women.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY

GRACE and DAWN are cleaning up the debris. Some plaster
has fallen and there is a pall of dust. They are singing
merrily, glad to be alive, to have survived the night.

Outside the front window, BILL and SUE can be seen, having
ventured out, eager to explore the damage done to Rosehill
Avenue.

EXT. ROSEHILL AVENUE - DAY

BILL picks up shrapnel. Several houses have been damaged,
one heavily so. Outside this house, a handful of people
has gathered watching the ARP MEN as they comb through the
smouldering ruins. Two of them are working a stirrup pump
as they extinguish a small fire in a corner of a room.
Some children come up to BILL and SUE. They are flushed
and excited, bursting with news. One buy, ROGER, blurts it
out.

ROGER
Pauline's mum got killed.

BILL
No, she didn't.

ROGER
Yes, she did, didn't she?

He appeals to his companions, particularly to a GIRL, JANE,
a little older than the others.

JANE
Yes, she did. Killed stone dead.

ROGER
You can ask her. Ask Pauline.

He points over at the ruined house, and sure enough there
is PAULINE, a girl of twelve. From time to time, a silicosis
NEIGHBOUR goes over to her, offering help, but PAULINE
shakes her head and looks away. She just's stands there as
though her mother has told her to wait on that spot and
not to talk to any strangers until she got back. The
children drift across towards her and stop a few feet away.
They stare intently, studying her face.

ROGER
Isn't that right? You're mum got
killed last night?

PAULINE nods affirmatively. A BOY throws a miniature
parachute into the air. It opens up and drops neatly at
PAULINE'S feet.

ROGER
There you are. I told you.

He jabs BILL in the ribs, finding a physical vent for his
excitement. BILL lashes back at him with a violent anger
that scares and quells the other boy. The group falls
silent.

PAULINE steals glances at them out of the corner of her
eye. She is not a popular girl, careful and self-conscious,
and she cannot help enjoying this situation. She flushes.

JANE
Do you feel rotten, Pauline?

PAULINE shakes her head. The children move away from her
and start to fool around, scrapping and laughing, but when
they get back within a certain distance of PAULINE, they
grow quiet and move away again. BILL nudges SUE.

BILL
Go and ask her if she wants to
play.

SUE
Ask her yourself.

BILL
You do it. You're a girl.

SUE edges slowly towards her, not without nervous glances
back at her brother.

SUE
Pauline.

PAULINE does not deign to answer the little girl.

SUE
Pauline. Do you want some shrapnel?

She has fragments in her hand. She offers then to PAULINE.
It is possibly part of the bomb that killed her mother.
PAULINE shakes her head.

SUE
Do you want to play?

PAULINE shakes her head again. SUE goes back to BILL who
has been watching carefully at a distance. After a moment,
they turn back and walk home. ROGER sees another newcomer
approaching. He calls out.

ROGER
Hey, Terry. Pauline's mum got killed
last night.

TERRY
She never.

ROGER
She did too.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY

BILL and SUE enter, bursting with their news. GRACE'S
sister, HOPE, has come to help and so have MOLLY and MAC,
and a Neighbour, MRS. EVANS, on whom DAWN wished a bomb.
GRACE'S arm is bandaged, MAC is scoring panes of glass
with a diamond cutter. He has a dollop of putty. BILL is
immediately distracted and cannot resist kneading the putty.
DAWN brings in a tray of tea. They are all in high spirits,
almost festive. SUE tugs at her mother's skirt.

SUE
Pauline's mummy got deaded.

GRACE'S attention is elsewhere. She does not hear.

MOLLY
You're lucky up here. The East
End's been burning for three nights.
Incendiaries.

DAWN hands the neighbour her tea.

DAWN
Still not been hit, Mrs. Evans?

MRS. EVANS
Touch wood.

DAWN
You had a near-miss the other might.

MRS. EVANS
I hear they're dropping diseased
rats on bomb sites.

DAWN
BILL found this tiny little
parachute. So that's what it was
for.

They all slurp their tea and talk at once. HOPE is dusting
the piano.

HOPE
Is the piano all right, Grace? It
was knocked clean over.

GRACE goes over to it and opens the lid, runs her fingers
over the keys.

GRACE
It seems to have survived.

MAC
Play something, Grace.

MOLLY
We never used to sing much before
the war, did we? Not in daytime
anyway.

DAWN starts to sing 'Mareseatoats and Doeseaboats and
Littleambseativy' and GRACE picks it up on the piano. DAWN
dances around the room. There is something wild and
abandoned about her.

MRS. EVANS
Dawn's come on fast.

MOLLY
That's the war for you. Quick,
quick, quick.

MRS. EVANS
Didn't I see you with a soldier,
Dawn?

It is just a teasing guess. She roars with laughter.

DAWN
I'm just doing my bit for the war
effort.

GRACE stops playing.

GRACE
I won't have this vulgar talk in
my house.

DAWN
It's only a joke, Mummy. I'm
fifteen. I'm still at school. I
want to be a nun when I grow up.

MAC goes over to GRACE. He picks up some sheet music from
a pile scattered on the floor. He selects a piece and props
it on the music stand.

MAC
Try and few bars of old Fred, Grace.

GRACE is softened by his tone. Their eyes meet for a moment.
She turns the stool back to the keyboard and plays Chopin,
particularly poignant since the fall of Warsaw. They listen
with teary eyes. 'Mareseatoats and Doeseaboats and Chopin.
It is the spirit of the Blitz.

SUE
(whispering to Bill)
Tell them about Pauline's mum.

BILL
Not now. They wouldn't believe me.

STOCK FILM

BLACK AND WHITE

The Chopin continues over a scenes of bomb-ruined London,
desolate and devastated.

EXT. BOMBED SITE - EVENING

COLOUR

A surreal landscape: a flight of stairs leading nowhere,
an exposed bathroom; a house entirely destroyed but for
one fragment of wall jutting up, and on it still hangs a
picture. BILL wanders among these wonders, scavenging. A
marauding gang of boys approaches. They spread out and
move up on BILL from all sides, trapping him. ROGER, the
boy who told of Pauline's mother's death, is among them
and appears to be their leader.

ROGER
What are you doing here? This is
our territory

BILL
Looking for shrapnel.

A BOY
What you got?

Two of them grab BILL and wrench his fist open, extracting
a piece of metal.

A BOY
Look, a detonator.

The others gather round, scrapping and shoving for a better
look, BILL'S arms are twisted behind his back and his eyes
are covered with a very dirty handkerchief. They take him
to a ruined house.

INT. RUINED HOUSE - DAY

The room has a brazier, table and chairs. They remove the
blindfold and he sees a wondrous sight, a collection of
bullets, shells and bomb fragments. ROGER slaps the shell
proudly.

ROGER
Unexploded.

BOY
You were spying.

BILL
I never was.

ROGER
Yes, you was. Make him talk.

They twist his arm. Several of the boys are smoking. One
takes a .303 Bullet and tightens in into an old vice fixed
to the table. BILL is fighting back the tears. ROGER leans
over BILL.

BILL
I know a secret.

ROGER
What's that?

BILL
The Germans are dropping men on
bomb sites.

ROGER
Who told you that?

They loosen their grip on his arm.

BILL
My uncle's in the War Office. He
said, Don't go on the bomb sites.
"Boys are going missing all the
time."

ROGER
They're not.

BILL has captured their attention. They release him.

BILL
If you find them hiding, they cut
your throat. They have to, or they'd
get found out.

The boys begin to get nervous, glancing about them. The
BOY on the vice aims a nail at the top of the bullet,
brandishing a hammer in the other hand.

BOY
I wish one would come through the
door now.

He hammers the nail and the bullet EXPLODES, embedding
itself in the door. They jump out of their skins.

ROGER
You want to join our gang?

BILL
I don't mind.

ROGER
Do you know any swear words?

BILL
Yes.

ROGER
Say them.

BILL is stubbornly silent.

ROGER
Well go on then. You can't join if
you can't answer.

BILL
I only know one.

They laugh derisively.

ROGER
Well say that one then.

BILL cannot get himself to say it, try as he will. They
groan and jeer. BILL forces it out, the one that he heard
on the bomb site.

BILL
Fuck!

They fall respectfully silent, exchange covert looks.

ROGER
That word is special. That word is
only for something really important.
Now, repeat after me... Bugger
off.

BILL
Bugger off.

ROGER
Sod.

BILL
Sod.

ROGER
Bloody.

BILL
Bloody.

ROGER
Now put them together. Bugger off,
you bloody sod.

BILL
Bugger off, you bloody sod.

ROGER
OK. You're in.

He gets up, leading them out of the room.

ROGER
Let's smash things up.

They go into a newly bombed house and, armed with stout
sticks and iron bars, indulge in an orgy of destruction.
ROGER has an air-gun and specializes in picking of light
bulbs. BILL is tentative at first, but the violence is
infectious. Pent-up aggression bursts and his is wilder
and worse than the others.

EXT. BUILDER'S YARD - DAY

ROGER leads the way, clambering over a damaged wall and
dropping into an enclosed yard. The others tumble after
him and ROGER raises a warning arm and addresses the gang
solemnly.

ROGER
This is top secret.

He points to a corner where dozens of sign-posts, uprooted
from crossroads, have been piled against each other, their
arms spread out forlonly announcing the names of towns and
their distances.

ROGER
They pulled them up from all the
crossroads, so when the Germans
land they'll lose their way.

BILL
Won't they have maps?

ROGER
They'll have to go to a shop to
buy a map, stupid. Then they'll
give zemselves avay viz ze vay zay
tork.

One BOY starts to goose-step and sing.

BOY
(singing)
Ven der Fuhrer says Vis iss der
master race, Ve vart, vart, vart,
Right in der Fuhrer's face.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - LANDING AD STAIRS - NIGHT

DAWN, watched by BILL, tiptoes down the stairs. She opens
the front door as silently as possible. Vera Lynn dispenses
sexy sentimentality on the wireless ('Sincerely Yours').
GRACE appears. DAWN is caught in the act.

GRACE
And where do you think you're going?

DAWN
Out.

GRACE
You go to bed this minute and take
off that lipstick.

DAWN
No, I won't.

GRACE files at her, enraged, and slaps her head and face.

GRACE
You wouldn't dare defy me if your
father was here.

DAWN covers her head with her arms until GRACE stops,
exhausted.

DAWN
If you've finished, I'm going.

She steps out of the door. GRACE grabs her, tearing her
blouse, and swings her back inside. They wrestle wildly,
both whimpering and moaning. BILL watches from above as
the fight imperceptibly transforms and mother and daughter
are finally hugging each other and crying.

DAWN
I want him. I want him so much.
I'll kill myself if I can't have
him.

GRACE
There, there, my baby.

GRACE lets go and turns towards the living room where Vera
Lynn wails a lament.

GRACE
Go if you want. What does it matter?
We might be all dead tomorrow.

DAWN'S make-up is smudged, her clothes torn.

DAWN
I can't go like this.

GRACE turns back and takes DAWN'S hand.

GRACE
You better bring him home, if you
really love him. Don't kill love.
You'll regret it for the rest of
your life.

DAWN
Who said anything about love?

EXT. BOMBED SITE - EVENING

The gang's H.Q. is even further improved. They have put in
some expensive furniture. They have a wireless and a
cocktail bar that opens to reveal a nest of mirrors
reflecting the bottles within. The gang fool's around, in
and out of the room, smoking and drinking beer. A girl
walks past, throwing them a flirtatious look. It is PAULINE
the girl who lost her mother in an air-raid. They whistle
and shout at her.

BOY #1
Want to see our den?

BOY #2
We got a bed.

They laugh bawdily and she turns up her nose. One of the
boys starts to wrestle with her. She starts to struggle.
They pin back her arms and try and kiss her. Her breasts
push up against her blouse like little apples. ROGER
whispers something in her ear. She protests.

ROGER
Go on, Pauline. Be a sport.

PAULINE
No, I won't. There's too many of
you.

ROGER
One at a time.

PAULINE
No, I won't.

ROGER
I'll give you something.

He gets a box, opens it and shows it her. It is full of
looted jewelry, brooches, cheap bracelets. PAULINE is
delighted. She pokes around and chooses a necklace, puts
it on.

PAULINE
All right. Line up.

They form a n orderly queue and PAULINE pulls up her skirt.
She holds her knickers open by the elastic so that it is
possible to look inside. The boys file past, each peering
inside her knickers for a second or two.

BOY 2
I seen better.

BILL is on the end. As his turn approaches, his face is
tense with apprehension.

PAULINE
It won't bite you.

They all laugh at his expense. Hi swings punches, flying
in all directions and they hits back. One or two land.
They hurt the recipients and they hit back. ROGER calls a
halt.

ROGER
Pack it in. It's time to smash
things up.

EXT. ANOTHER BOMBED SITE - EVENING

The gang loot and pillage, smashing as they go. Behind a
piece of broken wall, BILL discovers a soldier and a girl
clasped together, the girl is pressed against a door. BILL
moves closer. The soldier fumbles with her clothing, but
she is so wild with passion that his efforts are impeded.
BILL registers the familiar gasps and cries that he is
becoming accustomed to hearing from the injured, the dying
and the coupling. The girl moves her head and her face
becomes visible over the soldier's shoulder. It is DAWN.
She sees BILL as he sees her. She mouths the words: 'Go
away'. He turns to shake and cry. He moves away, then on
an angry impulse picks up a stone and throws it. The soldier
lets out a cry. He turns revealing himself as BRUCE.

BILL
(shouting)
Fuck!

Hearing the sacred cry, the gang come running. They see
BILL hurling stones and quickly join in. BRUCE protests
angrily and throws a couple of rocks himself, but he is
overwhelmed. He protects DAWN from the onslaught and they
flee.

ROGER
Teach him a lesson. Think they can
come over here and take our women.

BOY 2
Wasn't that your sister, Rohan?

BILL shakes his head, denying her.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

GRACE is cutting down a coat for SUE; BILL is reading a
comic, the Dandy; DAWN is darning stockings. The doorbell
SOUNDS and DAWN catapults from her chair to greet the
visitor. She returns with BRUCE, now evidently a welcome
and regular guest.

BILL throws friendly punches, one wild one catches him in
the crotch. He takes it bravely. He distributes largesse,
a tin of corned beef and a packet of tea for GRACE, chewing
gum for SUE, a model barrage balloon for BILL and a pair
of nylons for DAWN.

BRUCE
You need suspenders for this kind.

She laughs, then holds the stockings against her skin in a
transport of sexual delight.

DAWN
I'm going to cross my legs and
make that rustling noise.

Finally and dramatically, BRUCE pulls out a package in a
brown-paper bag. He gives it to GRACE. She opens it. It is
a piece of beef steak. GRACE is overcome.

GRACE
Steak! I can't remember the last
time...

BRUCE
crooning ironically 'The last time
I saw sirloin...'

GRACE holds the raw meat in her two hands and impulsively
kisses it.

BRUCE
Take it away. I know your husband's
been away a long time, but....

DAWN
Don't be so cheeky, Bruce.

He holds up his hands in supplication.

BRUCE
Sorry, sorry. Too long in the
barrack room.

Itma has just ended and a programme has started up about
the evacuation of Dunkirk. Its tone is quasi-religious -
patriotic as it tells of the armada of little boats
heroically snatching the remnants of the British Army out
of the jaws of the Nazis. Churchill's voice booms out of
the wireless.

CHURCHILL (V.O.)
If the British Empire lasts for a
thousand years, men will say, this
was their finest hour.

BRUCE has been horsing around with BILL, and all the time
DAWN devours him with her eyes.

GRACE
Oh, do let's listen to this. I
never tire of listening to it. I
gives me goose pimples.

BRUCE
You haven't been taking your orange
juice.

The insolent sally gives DAWN the excuse to jump on him
and force him on to the sofa and into a respectful silence.
Stirring music punctuates the dramatic narration, which
celebrates the bravery of the soldiers fighting their last
ditch stand. BRUCE giggles.

BRUCE
Don't sound the Dunkirk I was at.
I saw no fighting. We did a lot of
running backwards, though. Then we
got to the beach and we couldn't
run no more. And Jerry just sat
there and let us alone. If he'd
come after us, boy shakes his head
and laughs as though it would have
been the funniest moment of the
war.

We were beat so bad, discipline was all to Hell. We told
the soldiers to jump in the briny. There was no grub but
we broke into the wine stores, and everybody got smashed.
When the boats came, a lot of guys threw away their gear
and filled their kitbags with loot. One buddy of mine burst
into a jeweler's, his backpack was full of gold and silver.
We had to wade out to the boats and he was so heavy he
couldn't haul himself up. He slipped and sank like a stone.

He laughs again. The broadcast comes to its moving climax.

GRACE
How can you say such things? Can't
you hear what happened?

BRUCE
I was there.

NARRATOR (V.O.)
God laid his hand upon the waters
and they were still. The armada of
little boats brought their precious
cargo into safe havens. They lived
to fight another day.

BRUCE
He who turns and runs away lives
to fight another day.

The inspiring, patriotic music, Elgar, wells up.

GRACE
I don't care what you say. It filled
our hearts that day. The little
people stood up for once against
the tyrant. Stood up and said no!

BRUCE impressed, despite himself. DAWN is quite affected
too, by her mother's deep feeling.

GRACE
That's how we put up with the
bombing and the rationing, because
of Dunkirk. Because of the spirit
of Dunkirk, and because of that we
shall never give in, never.

THE ELGAR CONTINUES INTO:

NEWSREEL

BACK AND WHITE

A shot of troops being ferried from Dunkirk beaches by the
little boats. An open fishing boat is packed with soldiers,
mostly standing, while two men row. The soldiers begin to
sway and 'la-la' to the Elgar soundtrack. They are serious
and sombre, except for one, BRUCE, who is grinning.

SMASH CUT:

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - CHILDREN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

COLOUR

BILL in bed, smiling and in his sleep.

EXT. DUNKIRK - DAY

Back to BRUCE singing and smiling.

EXT. ROSEHILL AVENUE - DAY

CLIVE, leather helmet and goggles iced up, rides to the
Rohan House on a Norton motorbike. The street is snow-
covered and the road is covered in brown slush. BILL and
SUE run out to greet him. He dismounts painfully, his huge
army greatcoat is also rimmed with frost. His face is so
stiff with cold that he cannot crack a smile and presents
an intimidating figure to the children, who draw up short.
When he speaks, he can hardly form words. He staggers
alarmingly from the stiffness as he walks, and cramp in
one leg makes him hop up and down.

CLIVE
On the bike for five hours. Only
got a thirty-six hour pass.

He holds out his arms. They cower back, then turn on their
heels and scurry into the house, calling their mother.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - DINING ROOM - NIGHT

CLIVE has changed into civvies and is soaking his feet in
a bowl of hot water. Tea has been laid and the family
assembled. They watch CLIVE warily. They have learned to
live without him and his reappearance has upset the new
ballance.

CLIVE
Hand me my backpack, Bill.

BILL hands it to him and CLIVE proudly pulls out an un
labelled can and plants it firmly on the centre of tea
table.

GRACE
And what's that?

CLIVE
Jam.

BILL and SUE jump for joy.

BILL AND SUE
(chanting)
Jam! Jam! Jam!

GRACE
Jam? What kind of jam? It's not
like any jam I know.

CLIVE
German jam. It's German jam.

The table falls deathly silent. They stare at the can as
though it was a time bomb.

CLIVE
It's all right. It came from a
German chip. It got sunk, and this
stuff washed ashore, crates of it.
Jam. Our fellows found it on the
beach, by the rifle range.

GRACE picks it up gingerly, turns it, searches the blank
silver-grey metal for a sign, a clue, a portent.

GRACE
We don't know anything about it

CLIVE
Well, it's off ration. We know
that.

GRACE
How do we know they didn't plant
it there? They know we're mad on
jam. They could poison half the
country.

CLIVE surveys the suspicious hostile faces. Angrily, he
seizes the can and jabs it clumsily with the paper opener.

GRACE
Come away, children. I don't want
you to stand too close while he's
opening it.

They retreat to the corner of the room. CLIVE has it opened
and bends back the top to reveal a deep-red jam. GRACE
ventures forward and peers at it.

CLIVE
Well?

GRACE
It looks....foreign.

CLIVE
Jam is jam! It's just jam!

DAWN
Well, I'm not having any. Even if
it's not poisoned. I don't think
it's right. It's not patriotic.

BILL
You don't like jam. You hate jam.
You never eat jam.

DAWN
That's not the point.

There is an impasse. They stare at it gloomily. CLIVE waves
grandly at the jam.

CLIVE
Taste it. Why don't you taste it?

GRACE
You taste it.

The eyes turn on CLIVE. The situation forces their
resentment for one who has not shared in their hardships,
who abandoned them, in fact. The jam has become a test. He
looks into the faces of his family. Resolutely, he takes
up a teaspoon, picks up the can and begins to eat. Grimly
and steadily he ladles the jam to his mouth. They watch
him carefully for signs of pain. Before their doubts are
dispelled, he has consumed a third of the can. BILL is the
first to crack.

BILL
Give us some, Dad.

CLIVE stops eating, puts the can back on the table and
they all dig in. The tension is dispelled. SUE climbs on
CLIVE'S lap and he feeds her himself. They laugh and chatter
and stuff bread and jam in their mouths.

GRACE
You mean they let you go through
the officer training course and
then said you were too old for a
commission?

CLIVE
That's it.

GRACE
Why didn't they say that before
you started?

CLIVE
I wasn't too old when I started
the course. I was too old when it
finished.

GRACE
What are you going to be then?

CLIVE
A clerk. I'm doing a typing course.
I'll be typing for England.

GRACE goes to him, puts an arm around him.

GRACE
Poor Clive. You wanted it so much.

He looks up at her, beaten, uncomprehending. She kisses
him.

GRACE
You're such a baby.

The DOORBELL SOUNDS. DAWN scoots out to answer it.

BILL
It's lovely jam. It's nearly as
nice as English jam.

CLIVE grins, quickly recovered from his bad moment.

CLIVE
You know what I always say? Jam is
jam, the world over.

DAWN reappears with BRUCE. CLIVE darts a querying look at
GRACE. He winces at the sight of his little girl looking
up adoringly at a Canadian soldier.

DAWN
Bruce, this is my father. Dad,
this is Corporal Bruce Carey.

CLIVE laughs awkwardly, outranked.

BILL
Bruce, look! Dad got some German
jam.

SUE
We thought it was poison.

They laugh. BRUCE looks at it with mock suspicion, then
tastes it with his fingertip. His eyes bulge and he clutches
his throat.

BRUCE
The poison was at the bottom.

He falls to the ground in the most agonized convulsions.
The children scream with laughter and jump on top of him.

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - KITCHEN STEPS - DAY

The kitchen door is open, admitting thin winter sunlight.
GRACE works within. Outside, CLIVE is cleaning his kit,
helped by BILL. Belt and gaiters are balanced and laid out
to dry. CLIVE is sitting on the steps, putting dubbin on
his boots, BILL polishing his father's hat badge, totally
absorbed in its beauty. GRACE appears, outs a hand on
CLIVE'S shoulder, closes her eyes, let's the sun caress
her face.

GRACE
When do you think you'll get leave
again?

CLIVE
Not till Christmas, I don't suppose.

SUE appears and sprawls herself across her father's lap.

CLIVE
I'm glad you didn't send them to
your aunt.

GRACE
I've had a letter from her. They've
moved house.

CLIVE
Where to?

She smiles, eyes still closed.

GRACE
Woolamaloo.

CLIVE splutters with amusement.

CLIVE
Not Woolamaloo?

BILL looks up, grinning.

BILL
Woolamaloo? We would have lived in
Woolamaloo?

CLIVE starts to sing the old music-hall song.

CLIVE
(singing)
W-O-O-L-A-M-A-L-O-O, oo. Upon my
word, it's true. It's the way to
spell Woolamaloo.

They join in, in a ragged way, knowing it well.

EVERYBODY
(singing)
I bet you a dollar, There isn't a
scholar, To spell it right first
go, O, W-O-O-L-A-M-A-L-O-O, Loo-O
DAWN comes through the kitchen
with MAC and MOLLY, who find the
Rohans in good spirits. There are
arm greetings all round.

EXT. ROSEHILL AVENUE - DAY

BILL is giving his father and MAC a tour of the bomb damage.
He picks his way expertly through the rubble, and they
clamber after him.

CLIVE
What kind of war is this Mac? Up
there in Cumberland, we never see
an air-raid. The worst problem I
have is getting a new typewriter
ribbon. When I rode in against the
Turks, I knew what it was about.

MAC
Did you? You thought you did. We've
been gypsed, all our lives. Look
at your street.

They pause, looking out of a shattered window on the street.
It is a monotonous row of semi-detached houses, lying
between other identical rows, now pocked with bomb damage,
drab and dreary.

CLIVE
What about it?

MAC
Rosehill Avenue. No roses. No hill.
And it's certainly not an avenue.

CLIVE
Why not?

MAC
You need trees for an avenue.

CLIVE
There was talk of planting some
when we first came.

MAC
Propaganda. We've been had.

They fall silent, watching BILL as he greets some other
boys.

CLIVE
How's your war, Mac?

MAC
Never done better. On the fiddle.
Like everyone else.

CLIVE
Except the servicemen.

MAC
Naturally.

CLIVE
I don't understand. Is there any
point to it?

MAC
There is all right. This Hitter
fellow. We've got to winkle him
out. And get shot of some of our
lot at the same time.

They watch BILL rooting about in the rubble.

CLIVE
Look at how wild the boy's got. As
for Dawn. Sixteen, going around
with a soldier.
(shakes his head)
Keep and eye on them for me, Mac,
there's a pal. I've made a mess of
it all.
(his voices cracks.
A sob wells up.)
I've been such a bloody fool.

BILL has come up behind them and watches covertly. MAC
clasps CLIVE in his arms.

MAC
You always were, Clive. Steady the
Buffs.

CLIVE
Bugger the Buffs.

Cries and shouts come from the street. BILL swings across
a crater on a dangling electric cable and scrambles into
the road. There is panic and pandemonium. The local barrage
balloon's fins have punctured and it has lost stability.
It is careering wildly like a kite out of control. CLIVE
and MAC clamber into the street as the balloon skims across
the sky, its steel cable shearing a chimney stack which
tumbles down onto the front garden sending people scattering
in all directions. BILL runs up, mad with excitement, as
SUE and DAWN come out of the house with GRACE and MOLLY
and look up. CLIVE sprints across to them.

CLIVE
Take cover! We're being attacked
by our own balloons!

They take no notice of his entreaty, curiosity getting the
better of them.

MOLLY
It's having a nervous breakdown.

She giggles. The balloon bumps on the rooftop then shoots
up into the sky again. GRACE starts to laugh.

GRACE
It's so wonderful.

CLIVE earnestly dashes back and forth, wanting to do
something, but completely unable to decide what.

CLIVE
Don't panic!
(goes over to Mac)
Keep your head!

MAC
I will if you will!

The balloon does a fat little waltz in the sky. CLIVE
suddenly explodes with laughter. DAWN has SUE in her arms.

DAWN
He just got fed up with all the
other boring old barrage balloons
and decided it was time to have
some fun.

Two ARP MEN run down the street, urging people to go inside.
The family retreat grudgingly towards their house, but
hover in the front garden watching and laughing. Six HOME
GUARDS march into Rosehill Avenue at the double. The balloon
has risen into the sky and the people are drawn out again
into the street, looking up. The HOME GUARDS come to a
halt and raise their rifles.

BILL
Boo! Leave it alone!

The balloon suddenly plunges down towards the street,
scattering the HOME GUARDS. Women SCREAM and everyone dashes
for cover again. BILL laughs derisively.

BILL
They're scared of old fatty.

The GUARDS form up again and fire at the balloon. It bursts
into flames. The shreds of burning cloth, followed by the
spiralling cable, plunges into the street. There are cries
if regret and the family and others step forward to inspect
the smouldering remains with the same sadness that is felt
at the end of a firework display.

BILL
Why did they have to go and do
that?

INT. W.V.S CENTRE - DAY

A make-do-and-mend session, where clothes are exchanged,
repaired, altered and cut down. It is swarming with women
and children. MOLLY and GRACE rummage among the racks of
clothing. SUE and BILL, bored and resigned, are obliged to
try on items of used clothing.

MOLLY
God, how I hate all this scrimping
and squalor.

GRACE
I don't mind it. It was harder
before the war. Trying to keep up
appearances. Now it's patriotic to
be poor.

In the absence of men, women are everywhere stripping down
to their underwear to try on the clothes. BILL tries not
to watch, acutely embarrassed.

MOLLY
I don't know how you cope, Grace.
Three kids, army pay. On your own.

GRACE
You know something, Molly? I like
it on my own. I never got used to
sharing a bed, not really.

MOLLY pulls of her dress and suddenly, inches from BILL'S
face, are those mysterious few inches of white suspendered
leg between the stocking-tops and the camiknickers.

MOLLY
I love a man in bed, the smell of
him, the hairiness rubbing against
you, the weight of him. And when
they do it to you in the middle of
the night and you don't know if
you're dreaming or it's really
happening to you. That's the best.
No guilty feelings. Not that I
should have any, wide awake.

MOLLY pulls on a flowered silk dress that clings to her
figure. She smooths it out.

GRACE
Molly!

MOLLY
Well! I'm not talking about Mac.
He hasn't toughed me for ages. And
not often ever. My life started
when Mac went on nights.

She dissolves in a fit of giggles. GRACE helps SUE with a
sensible navy-blue coat. It is heavy and dull. SUE doesn't
like it. Her face creases and tears well up.

GRACE
You're having me on, Molly.

MOLLY
Am I? Maybe I am.

GRACE
You've been drinking. Your tipsy.

MOLLY
Tipsy, topsy, turvy.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - CHILDREN'S BEDROOM - NIGHT

BILL and SUE each have a torch, which serve as a
searchlight. BILL smokes a woodbine and he blows the smoke
around the suspended model aircraft. Spitfires, Hurricanes,
Messerschmitts, Heinkels are picked out in turn. As they
appear,BILL simulates their engine noise. With considerable
dexterity, he uses his free hand to fire his ack-ack guns,
and papier-mache pellets, pre-soaked in ink, fly through
the air. BILL animates a distressed plane plummeting to
earth. His triumph is interrupted by a TAP at the window.
Expertly he dogs his Woodbine then goes to the window. He
opens it and DAWN steps through. He is about to close it
after her when BRUCE'S face appears. BILL lets fly an ink
pellet catching BRUCE square on the forehead. DAWN holds
up a threatening hand and the children shrink back as BRUCE
clambers in. The two of them tiptoe into the next bedroom,
DAWN throwing a warning glance over her shoulder.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - LANDING - NIGHT

BILL and SUE share the keyhole, which affords a partial
view of Dawn's bed. Complicated combinations of limbs cross
the field of view, offering a tantalizing version of events
within. The children give up and return to their room,
whispering.

SUE
I suppose they're still learning,
that's why they keep moving about.

BILL
It's easy. I've done it.

SUE
Who with?

BILL
Pauline.

SUE
Liar. Mummy keep still and Daddy
moves on top of her. That's what
they do when they know how.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - DAWN'S ROOM - NIGHT.

BRUCE turns on his back with a deep sigh of satisfaction.

BRUCE
(whispering)
Boy, that was some air-raid.

DAWN
Air-raid?

BRUCE
Didn't you feel the house rock?
You must have seen all those shell
bursts.

She sticks the pillow in her mouth to stop laughing. BRUCE
turns and whispers in her ear.

BRUCE
Let's get married. We'll live in
Montreal. I'll teach you French.
Je t'aime, mon petit chou.

Even when he's serious, his manner is teasing.

DAWN
Don't get smoochy. You'll spoil
it.

She is genuinely irritated.

FILM EXTRACT

BLACK AND WHITE

A scene from a forties romantic movie. The couple on the
screen are deeply in love, but he must go off to the war.
Their parting is bitter-sweet, prolonged and accompanied
by a symphony orchestra playing its heart out.

EXT. CINEMA - NIGHT

COLOUR

MAC sits between MOLLY and GRACE. He looks from one to the
other. They are both weeping, lost in the movie, and
oblivious of him. SUE sleeps, lying across her mother's
lap. BILL squirms with embarrassment as the screen lovers
kiss. He turns his face away. When he looks back, he is
disgusted to see that they are still at it.

EXT. NATIONAL GALLERY - DAY

BILL leans over to the balustrade of the pillar portico
looking out on to Trafalgar Square. The strains of a
passionate piano recital reverberate from inside the
Gallery. Soldiers and their girls, hand in hand, listen
enraptured.

EXT. TRAFALGAR SQUARE - DAY

Barrage balloons hang over Admiralty Arch and garland Nelson
astride his column.

EXT. NATIONAL GALLERY - DAY

BILL threads his way through the crowd, past signs
announcing Dame Myra Hess's lunchtime concerts (SOLD OUT)
and into the marbled hall.

INT. NATIONAL GALLERY - DAY

BILL slides back into his seat next to GRACE as DAME Myra
concludes the WARSAW Concerto. The audience rises to its
feet, applauding, GRACE, he eyes shining, is among them.
MAC watches her pleasure with pleasure. BILL is disturbed
by the music, by the eruption of emotion and some wearing
blue uniforms demoting the war wounded. They clap and clap.

GRACE
Mac, that was wonderful. I haven't
been to a concert since...

MAC
...since I used to take you to the
Proms?

GRACE
That's right. Not since then Not
since I got married.

Their eyes meet. The audience is drowning in it own
applause. Everyone is crying, or laughing, or both. GRACE
and MAC among them. In the emotional tumult they reveal
more than they intend. The audience falls silent. BILL'S
gaze drifts to the wall where huge paintings by special
war artists hang. GRACE tears her eyes away from MAC. She
senses BILL watching her and turns her attention to Dame
Myra's fingers flying over the keys.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - DINING ROOM - DAY

The table has been stretched to embrace the Rohan family,
including GRACE'S SISTERS. They wear paper hats, have
finished their Christmas dinner, and are listening
attentively to King George VI stuttering painfully through
his Christmas message.

EXT. ROSEHILL AVENUE - DAY

It is raining. BRUCE hurries along the street, and as he
enters the Rohan's front gate, he pauses, pulls an old
silk stocking over his head and takes two glass eyes from
his pocket. They look as though they once belonged to a
stuffed stag. He pushes them inside the stocking and
positions them just under his own eyes so that he can peek
over them. He crawls under the bow window.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - DINING ROOM - DAY

The King falters to a conclusion.

CLIVE
He was a lot better this year.

MAC and the others mumble agreement.

BILL
You said that last year, Dad.

CLIVE
The land and the King are one, my
son. If he stutters we falter.
He's getting batter, and so are
we.

The National Anthem strikes up on the wireless. They all
rise and stand to attention.

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - DAY

BRUCE raises his head and presses his grotesque face to
the window. He taps on the glass. He is startled to see
the assembled family standing upright and staring back at
him without expression. He cavorts and waves his arms, but
still gets no response. Sheepishly, he slinks into the
porch and pulls off the stocking. The door opens to reveal
DAWN.

DAWN
Dad's furious. It was 'God Save
The King'.

He goes inside and she closes the door. He pushes the stag's
eyes into his own sockets and scrunches up his face to
grip them into place. DAWN turns back and he lunges, trying
to kiss her. She squeals wit laughter.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - DINING ROOM - DAY

A charade is in progress. CLIVE and MAC are got up as
prostitutes, wearing their wives' clothes. GRACE and MOLLY
are dressed as men. There is a lot of salacious flirting
and an argument breaks out over the price of whores. MOLLY
says the word 'tart' emphatically and BILL jumps out of
his seat, yelling:

BILL
Jam tart! Jam tart! I got it! I
got it!

The four actors abandon their characterizations and applaud
young BILL. BRUCE watches in amazement.

BRUCE
Jesus Christ! This is Christmas?

GRACE'S father rises, his glass held aloft.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
The for my annual toast. Charge
your glasses.

There are groans and mutterings of disapproval. He cuts an
impressive figure,white hair, drooping moustache, waistcoat
and watch-chain. His eyes take on a faraway look, sombre
and serious. His wife, pointedly leaves the room, slamming
the door behind her.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
To Mary McDonald, Thelma Richardson,
Bobo Hinds, Lily Sanderson...
(savours each name,
smiles, shakes his
head, has a special
emphasis or tone
of voice for every
one of them.)
...Little Sarah Whats-it, now there
was a spirit. And Marjorie Anderson.

GRACE
Father, that's enough now

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
And...and...Henry Chapman's girl,
was it Thelma? No, I can see those
cornflower eyes...I've lost your
name, my sweetness.

Tears come to his eyes. He falters. There are cries of
'shame'. HOPE, GRACE'S sister, jumps to her feet.

HOPE
Do we have to listen to this
nonsense every year? You're drunk,
Dadda. Sit down.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
...Betty Browning...Betty, let me
tell you something. I'm seventy
three years old, I've seen half
the wonders of the world and I
never laid eyes on a finer sight
than the curve of Betty Browning's
breasts... raises his glass again
My girls Dead you may be, or old
and withered. But while I live, I
will do you honour to the last.
Bless all of you.

He drinks and slumps down into his chair, overcome with
melancholy. Only MOLLY applauds and only DAWN looks
sympathetic. BILL taps his grandfather's knee.

BILL
It was Sheila, Grandpa.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE looks up sadly.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
What's that?

BILL
Henry Chapman's daughter. It was
Sheila. I remember her from last
year.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
So it was. Sheila. This boy will
go far.

BILL turns away to DAWN, stifling his giggles.

BILL
I made it up!

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - NIGHT

DAWN and BRUCE kiss goodbye in the porch. She pulls away,
sensing something amiss.

DAWN
What's wrong?

He looks away, unhappy and awkward.

DAWN
What is it?

BRUCE
We're not supposed to say, but
we're being shipped out tomorrow.

DAWN
Where?

BRUCE
I don't know?

DAWN
You do, you do. You're just not
saying.

BRUCE
I swear I don't know.
(offers her a little
box)
Here's your Christmas present.

She opens it. A diamond ring. She gasps, then trusts it
back at him angrily.

DAWN
You expect me to spend the rest of
the war sitting at home staring at
a ring? And you'll meet some French
girl who can speak your own
language. No thank you!

BRUCE
Please yourself.

BRUCE hurls the little box into the next-door bomb site
and storms off into the night. DAWN slams the door.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - NIGHT

DAWN buries her head in a cushion, crying and wailing.
Only MAC and MOLLY of the guests remain, and they are
playing cards with CLIVE and GRACE. GRACE goes to comfort
DAWN.

GRACE
What is it, pet?

DAWN
He's being posted. I was terrible
to him.

GRACE
Don't leave it like that. Go after
him. Swallow your pride.

EXT. ARMY CAMP - DAY

CLIVE and DAWN riding pillion, pull up at the Guard House
on his old Norton. DAWN slides down and hurries to the
Guard House. CLIVE props up the bike and follows her. A
convoy of trucks pulls out of the gate. Soldiers lean out
of the back of the lorries, cheering and whistling when
they see DAWN.

INT. GUARD HOUSE - DAY

The SERGEANT of the Guard sits toasting his toes on a coke
stove. DAWN addresses CLIVE as he enters.

DAWN
We've missed them. They've gone.
(turns back to the
Sergeant)
Can't you tell me where? You can
see I'm not a spy.

SERGEANT
I would if I could, but I can't.

He points to a wall on which two posters are pinned. One
says 'Careless talk costs lives, the other, ' Walls Have
Ears'. DAWN is shattered. CLIVE puts his arm about her.

CLIVE
He'll write as soon as he can.

SERGEANT
Sure, he will. You'll meet again
(sings)
don't know where, don't know when.
But in the meantime, I am free
tomorrow night.

CLIVE leads her out. A sprig of mistletoe hangs over the
door. DAWN rips it down and flings it back at the SERGEANT.
It hits him square in the face.

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - PORCH - DAY

CLIVE is packed up, ready to go. The family has come to
bid farewell, all except BILL, who suddenly appears with a
triumphant whoop.

BILL
I found it! I found it!

He hands the little ring box to DAWN. She opens it and
looks at the ring, but does not put it on her finer. CLIVE
and GRACE watch tenderly.

DAWN
You needn't have bothered, Bill.

They watch CLIVE as he rides away. Behind them, the
Christmas tree can be seen in the window. As they turn to
go in, GRACE looks warily at DAWN.

GRACE
That letter this morning, was it
from Bruce?

DAWN nods.

GRACE
What did he say?

DAWN
He said I was right. I shouldn't
wait for him. I was better to make
a clean break.

GRACE
I think it's very sensible in the
circumstances.

DAWN
Now he's gone and made me fall in
love with him, which I never wanted
to do. I told him that.

She runs into the house and up the stairs.

EXT. SEASIDE RESORT - DAY

GRACE, MAC, BILL and SUE are finishing a frugal picnic on
the beach. They are muffled up against the nip of early
spring. The sand is criss-crossed with pointed iron spikes
and coils of barbed wire. Curt signs warn against mines
and other hazards. BILL and SUE start to play happily and
messily in the sand. In the distance, they hear MUFFLED,
deep-throated EXPLOSIONS.

BILL
What's that?

MAC
Big Berthas, shelling France.
Twenty-five-mile range, they have.

BILL
Wow!

MAC
They send over a few every day, to
let them know we're still here.
Each shell costs as much as a Ford
8.

BILL
Who pays for them?

MAC
We will, you will, for the rest of
our lives?

BILL gets out a rubber ball, and spins it in is fingers.

GRACE
Remember this beach, Mac? All those
summers. Out two families, together.

MAC
Happy days.
(watches Bill's
efforts with the
ball)
When you're bigger, Bill, I'll
teach you the googly.

BILL smiles a secret smile.

BILL
Thanks.

GRACE starts to sing.

GRACE
(singing)
There'll be blue birds over, The
white cliffs of Dover...

MAC and the children join in. BILL practices his spin,
finger and wrist.

ALL
(singing)
...tomorrow. Just you wait and
see...

Another CRUMP from Big Bertha.

BILL
There goes another Ford 8, Uncle
Mac.

EXT. RAILWAY - NIGHT

The train is unlit to comply with the blackout, the only
illumination being as the fire-box door of the loco opened.

INT. TRAIN COMPARTMENT - NIGHT

Moonlight flickers intermittently into the compartment,
lending a jerky, monochrome quality to the scene. SUE
sleeps, thumb in mouth. BILL dozes in the corner of the
compartment. GRACE and MAC sit side by side.

GRACE
(softly)
Mac, did you ever find out who
Molly went off with?

MAC
A Polish pilot. It's like one of
those jokes on the wireless.

He stares out of the window, the pale broken light making
patterns on his face.

GRACE
You miss her. I know you do.

He smiles ruefully.

MAC
She said, 'I know you love me,
Mac, but you've never loved me
enough.'

GRACE
Not loving enough. That is a
terrible thing to do to someone. I
suppose I did it to Clive. Always
held something back.

BILL stirs and fidgets, half hearing, squinting through
drooping lids. MAC and GRACE lower their voices further
whispering.

MAC
It's all better left unsaid, Grace.

GRACE
You were never apart, you and Clive.
He kept asking and asking. And I
waited and waited for you to say
something. And you never did.

MAC
Clive had a job. I didn't. I
couldn't.

They fall silent. GRACE smiles ruefully.

GRACE
He could always make me laugh.

MAC
We did the decent thing.

GRACE
This war's put an end to decent
things. I want to close my eyes
and jump and give myself for once,
hold nothing back.

MAC
We can't change what's past. Not
even the war can do that.

GRACE
We did all the proper things, and
we lost love. That's sad, Mac.

Their eyes meet and acknowledge what might have been, of
happiness accidentally missed.

GRACE
If I saw this at the pictures, I'd
be crying my eyes out, but I can't
shed a tear for myself.

In the pale half-light, they seem young and innocent. He
takes her hand. They almost kiss. But for children, they
would. Finally, MAC turns away and looks out at the dark,
heavy shapes of the approaching city.

EXT. ROSEHILL AVENUE - NIGHT

As GRACE, MAC, BILL and SUE turn into the avenue, they see
a house burning. It is theirs. When they get closer, they
see it is gutted and the roof has collapsed. The firemen
have hoses trained on it, but it is too hot to get into
the front door. GRACE'S first thought is for her Daughter.

GRACE
Dawn! Dawn!

DAWN is with a knot of neighbours, watching the blaze.
GRACE is so relieved to see her that she smiles and becomes
quite tranquil.

GRACE
Thank God you're safe.

The FIRECHIEF approaches her.

FIRECHIEF
Was this your house, madam?

GRACE
I didn't know there was a raid.

FIRECHIEF
It wasn't a bomb, just afire.

GRACE
What do you mean, a fire?

FIRECHIEF
It happens in wartime as well, you
know.

MAC is shattered. He puts an arm round GRACE. She throws
him a look, haunted with guilt, and she moves away to
console her children, who watch the blaze impassively.

DAWN
I just wished I'd worn my nylons.

GRACE suddenly seized by a dread thought. She runs to the
FIRECHIEF.

GRACE
My ration books are in there.

She makes a wild dash at the house, but MAC and the
neighbours restain her. BILL remains next to the FIRECHIEF.

BILL
My shrapnel collection should be
all right.

FIRECHIEF
Oh yes, I should think so.

EXT. ROHAN HOUSE - DAY

Mac's car drives up to the charred ruins of the house.
GRACE and the children get out. ROGER and his gang are
already looting. BILL charges ROGER and punches him in the
face. They fall and roll in the wet ashes. The bigger boy
is so taken aback by BILL'S ferocity that he cannot gain
an advantage. MAC stops GRACE from interfering,
understanding the boy's need. PAULINE has appeared and
smiles knowingly as she watches. Other children gather.
ROGER picks himself up and the gang beats a retreat.

INT. ROHAN HOUSE - DAY

GRACE, MAC, DAWN and SUE join BILL in the house and scratch
among the debris to see what can be salvaged.

EXT. ROSEHILL AVENUE - DAY

They ferry bit and pieces to the car. GRACE discovers the
charred remnants of a photo album. There are pictures with
un burnt fragments and she carries it carefully to the
car.

GRACE
Mac, look! Some of the snaps are
saved.

It is open at the picture of the two families at the very
beach they visited yesterday. It is burned around the edges,
only MOLLY and CLIVE are unscathed and they smile happily.
GRACE and MAC look at it then at each other. It feeds their
guilt. The neighbours gather and awkwardly try to express
their sympathy. MRS. EVANS arrives with some clothes.

MRS. EVANS
This coat should fit you Grace.
And here are some things for Dawn.
And a few bits for the kitchen.

GRACE
Thank you, Evelyne.

BILL is acutely embarrassed. He catches PAULINE'S smirking
look. He fights to hold back the tears, but finally fails.

GRACE
It's only a house. We still have
each other.

BILL
I don't care about the house, I
just hate all these people watching
us and being nice.

EXT. THE THAMES RIVERSIDE - DAY

Carrying GRACE and the three children, MAC's car draws up
on the towpath facing an island on which is a number of
wooden bungalows with verandas decorated in fretted scroll
work. Neat lawns slope down to the river's edge where
varnished punts and skiffs like sleekly tethered.
GRANDFATHER GEORGE has spotted them and he rear-sculls his
dinghy across the water to fetch them.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Coming. Coming. Deliverance is at
hand. All will be well.

GRANDMOTHER comes down from the bungalow to the edge of
the river and waves encouragingly. BILL is captivated by
the river. Moorhens thread through the tendrils of weeping
willow. As electric slip launch is moored where they wait.
He strokes its glassy varnish. MAC unloads the boot of the
car.

MAC
Another world, eh Billy? And not
twenty miles from Picadilly.

GRACE comes alongside DAWN and waves her mother on the far
bank, only forty yards away. DAWN glances nervously at
GRACE.

DAWN
Are you strong enough for another
shock? You're going to be a grandma.
(waves across the
river at her own
Grandmother.)
Hello, Grandma.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE docks his craft expertly and lassoes a
mooring post. GRACE lets out an hysterical cry.

GRACE
I don't believe this is happening
to me.

DAWN
It's not. It's happening to me.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
responding to GRACE It's only a
house, and a ghastly one at that.
They should all be burned and bombed
and the builder hanged.

MAC and GRANDFATHER GEORGE load the family's few possessions
on the boat.

GRACE
What did I do to deserve this?

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
You married that fool, Clive, that's
what. Never mind, you can stay
with us.

GRACE
(to Dawn)
How long?

DAWN
Three and a half months.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
As long as that? Well, all right.
Why not? It's nearly summer. Let
the nippers run wild.

The children have got into the boat. GRACE turns to MAC
and kisses him awkwardly.

GRACE
Bless you, Mac. What would I have
done without you?

MAC
(ruefully)
You might still have a house.

GRACE
(wistfully)
I wish it could all have been
different.

MAC
Look after yourself, Grace.

He watches them as they cross the river, conscious of the
gap widening between himself and GRACE.

GRACE
Everything I have left in the world
is in this little boat.

BILL studies GRANDFATHER GEORGE's sculling technique.

BILL
Can I try?

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Put your hand on mine, get the
knack of it.

BILL holds the gnarled old hand and moves in unison.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
I shall teach you the ways of the
river. Another year in that awful
suburb and you would be past saving.
Look, they're coming this way! The
future on the march. I curse you,
Volt, Watt and Amp.

Looming over GRANDFATHER GEORGE's bungalow is a newly
constructed electric pylon.

INT. BUNGALOW - BILL'S AND DAWN'S BEDROOM - DAWN

BILL wakes, looks at the river.

EXT. BUNGALOW - DAWN

A grey dawn light touches the mist lying over a glassy
river. BILL comes down out of the house and stands at the
edge of the water: not a breath of wind, not a soul
stirring. He slips out of his grandfather's voluminous
pajama pants. Delicately, he lowers himself into the river,
careful not to crack the perfect smoothness of the water.
He slides slowly in until only his head is showing. He
swims out into the centre of the stream, without disturbing
the water. He stops, takes a breath then submerges, leaving
not a ripple, never a trace. The dawn river is once more
unobserved, its secret self again.

INT. BUNGALOW - BILL'S AND DAWN'S BEDROOM - DAWN

BILL comes in wet from bathing, to find DAWN half dressed
contemplating her slightly swollen nave. They share a small
room in which are two bunk beds.

DAWN
Have a listen. See if you can hear
anything.

With some reluctance, BILL puts an ear to her stomach. His
cold wet hair gives her a shock. She slaps him.

DAWN
You're icy cold. A shock like that
could give me a miscarriage.
(grinning)
That's an idea, do it again.

DAWN giggles and it is BILL's turn to be shocked.

GRANDMA (O.S.)
Breakfast, all!

DAWN leaves the room while BILL climbs into his clothes.

INT. BUNGALOW - DINING ROOM - DAY

The room lets out, through open French windows, on to a
back garden sown with vegetables for some yards and then
giving way to orchard and pasture. The morning sun streams
in. GRANDFATHER GEORGE sits at ne end facing the garden.
GRACE, SUE, GRANDMA and DAWN flank him. GRANDFATHER GEORGE
is not the best in the morning. He glares at BILL as he
enters and slips quietly into his seat.

GRANDMA
Did they say how long it would
take to get new ration books, Grace?

GRACE
(shouting and
emancipating)
Up to six weeks, I think.

GRANDMA
How are we going to cope?

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Nettle soup, like we did in the
Great War. Very nourishing. Bill
and I will catch fish. The river
fowl will be laying eggs soon.
We'll hunt, We'll forage. We'll
overcome.

GRANDMA
What about tea and sugar. Clever
Dick?

GRANDFATHER GEORGE holds up a warming hand.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Keep still! Nobody move!

His aspect fills them with dread. His eyes are boring holes
in the cabbage patch, outside the French windows, where a
rat is crouching.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
(dramatic whisper)
Mother!! Fetch my gun.

GRANDMA
What's that, dear?

He points urgently at where the gun stands against the
wall. GRANDMA creeps on tiptoe over to the gun and hands
it to him, resuming her place without making a sound. He
raises the shotgun, aiming along the length of the table.
The children are statues, only their eyes darting from him
to the rat and back. The barrel is inches from their faces.
He fires. They jump. Smoke fills the room, He curses under
his breath, as the rat escapes. He puts down the gun and
readdresses his boiled egg, as an afterthought, he turns
to BILL.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Never let a rat creep up on you.

BILL
I think you hit him, Grandpa. He
was limping when he ran off.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE gives him a searching look, but BILL is
all innocence. DAWN stifles a giggle. GRACE sees what goes
on and suppresses a smile herself. BILL suddenly coughs
and splutters to hid his laughter. DAWN goes red in the
face, tears come to her eyes and her shoulders shake. SUE
suddenly tinkles with innocent mirth and the suppressed
laughter bursts out of them all. They roar and gasp and
shudder and cannot stop. GRANDMA, quiet perplexed, smiles,
happy to see them all so happy. GRANDFATHER GEORGE, eyes
blazing with anger, glares at them disdainfully, but the
dam has burst and, fear him as they do, the laughter pours
out unabated and their eyes are filled with tears.

INT. RIVER - DAY

GRANDFATHER GEORGE poles the punt up the river. GRACE,
GRANDMA and SUE lounge in the cushions. BILL stands
alongside the old man, learning the way of it.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Up, two, three. Throw the pole
forward, let it slide through your
fingers. Don't push until it hits
the bottom.

BILL takes it all in.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Now check that spinner.

BILL crawls along the shiny deck and hauls in a fishing
line.

BILL
No luck, Grandpa.

He lets it out again. A wood-fired steam launch, all
polished brass, with an elegant canopy, chugs past them.
An elderly couple occupies it, seated in wicker armchairs.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
(raises his cap to
them)
Good day, ma,am. Greetings Edward.

They are beguiled by the smell of the afternoon. GRACE
trails her fingers dreamily through in the water. Willows,
bulrushes, glides past.

GRANDMA
...such nice boys with straw boaters
and blazers. All the punts lit up
with Chinese lanterns. Like
fireflies. And the gramophone going
on one of the boats. Always the
Charleston, the Charleston, the
Charleston. Oh, you girls.

GRACE
Wasn't it lovely?

GRANDFATHER GEORGE entrusts the pole to BILL. He struggles
with the technique, does quite well. The the pole sticks
in deep mud. He cannot extricate it.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Let it go. Let it go.

But BILL hangs on to the pole and the punt moves on until
he is stretched between them. Finally, he hops on to the
pole and clings to it.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Stay put. Hang on.

He takes a paddle and drives the boat back to where BILL
is stranded. The pole starts to topple in a small arc.
GRANDFATHER GEORGE renews his efforts and BILL is able to
step neatly on to the rear decking. The old an eases the
pole from the mud.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Now there's a lesson for life.
Never give up the punt for the
pole.

EXT. GRANDFATHER GEORGE'S RIVERSIDE GARDEN - DAY

Tea is being laid on the lawn by GRANDMA, GRACE and DAWN;
GRANDFATHER GEORGE reclines in the faded swing-seat. BILL
ferries FAITH, HOPE and CHARITY (his three aunts) to the
island in the dingy. He rear-sculls with some difficulty,
but well enough. GRANDFATHER GEORGE examines his daughters
with binoculars as they 'ooh' and 'aah' greetings on their
approach. They disembark and there is much hugging and
kissing. They have all brought clothing for the family and
dresses and blouses are held up, examined and admired.

The daughters clearly disapprove of GRANDFATHER GEORGE and
only offer perfunctory kisses, HOPE ignoring him completely.
SUE is held up and passed from hand to hand as though she
were a frock herself. They take it in turns to shout
clarification to their mother. They flutter around DAWN,
who is now showing her pregnancy.

FAITH
No word from Bruce, my pet?

It was meant well, but it makes DAWN bristle.

FAITH
All men are beasts, darling.

DAWN
That's what I like about them.

FAITH
Dawn! Really!

BILL slides over to his grandfather.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
All hens and no cocks. Too many
women in the family. They're a
different species from us, Bill.
Love them, but don't try to
understand them. That road leads
to ruin. Let's make a nuisance of
ourselves.

He mingles among the women, deciding to goad his daughter
HOPE.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
You look frustrated, Hope. That
husband of yours still can't rise
to the occasion?

HOPE flares up, but bites her tongue and turns away.
GRANDFATHER GEORGE turns to BILL, confidingly.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
I won't have the husbands here.
All four married duds, including
your mother.

HOPE
He's a menace. He ought to be locked
up.

CHARITY
Don't let him get his claws into
you Billy, Grace.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE continues his advice to BILL.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
They'll tame you if they can, cage
you and feed you tidbits. Better
retreat to prepared positions.

He leads BILL round to the back garden away from the river.
All the bungalows are built up on piers against flooding.
He reaches under the house and retrieves an old cricket
bat and ball. He thrusts the ball at BILL.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Bags I bat first.

He takes guard against the trunk of an old apple tree.
BILL twists his fingers around the ball and bowls a spinner
to GRANDFATHER GEORGE who waits for it to break, then plays
it back. The next ball breaks the other way and clean bowls
him. GRANDFATHER GEORGE looks back at BILL with
astonishment.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
That was a googly!

BILL
I know.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
You're a dark horse, bowling
googlies at your age. Toss me up
another.

BILL
No, you're out, Grandpa. It's my
turn.

With ill grace, GRANDFATHER GEORGE surrenders the bat and
offers a harmless arthritic delivery which BILL thumps
into the gooseberry bushes. GRANDFATHER GEORGE curses and
pricks his fingers as he tries to retrieves the ball. He
looks up irritably at the sounds of laughter from his
daughters. He snarls in their direction.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Want to know why they're called
Faith, Hope, Grace and Charity?

BILL
Why?

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Your grandmother. She named them
after virtues I lack. That's
marriage for you.

He bowls again. BILL hammers it away. GRANDFATHER GEORGE
glares at him, trembling with fury.

BILL
It's only a game, Grandpa.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE gets himself under control and trots
off to find the ball.

EXT. RIVER - DAY

BILL and SUE are in the dingy, pushing a stand of reeds.
BILL hangs over and bows, hauling the boat along by pulling
on the reeds. The parting rushes reveal a moorhens nest,
neatly suspended above the water on bent-over reeds meshed
together. There are some dozen speckled eggs. BILL
carefully extracts one of them ad places it in a little
basket in the boat, which already contains a number of
eggs which he has presumably taken from other nests.

Further upstream, BILL steps out of the boat into some
shallows. He gropes under the water and hauls up a night
fishing line. SUE shares his disappointment when there is
no catch.

EXT. BUNGALOW - DAY

The dingy pulls up at the landing stage. GRANDFATHER GEORGE,
using a stick, limps down the garden to meet them. SUE
hands him the basket of eggs.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Where's the fish? No fish, no
supper. Be off with you and don't
come back empty handed.

He gives the boat a shove with his stick and turns back to
the house. SUE looks weepy. BILL mouths some of his
repertoire of swear words. From the dormer window, DAWN
witnesses their humiliation. She laughs and waves. As
GRANDFATHER GEORGE turns back to the house, she ducks out
of sight.

EXT. WEIR - DAY

They row up to the head of the weir. BILL casts a line and
fixes the rod to the gunwale, He ties up the boat and slips
over the side. He checks a net arrangement he has fixed at
the base of the waterfall to snare unwary fish swimming
over the weir. It is empty. SUE paddles in the soft weed
that grows on the steps of the weir, letting it seep between
her toes. BILL kneels and runs his fingers through the
same luminous-green weed. They become absorbed in it. BILL
lowers his body into the water and lets himself slide over
the weed. SUE follows suit. Soon they have discovered a
glorious game, sliding like eels down the weir and plunging
into the pool below. Back and forth they go. In the far
distance, an air raid siren wails, They pay no attention,
so caught up are they in their pleasure. SUE checks the
fishing line fixed to the boat. Nothing.

SUE
I'm scared of going back without
any fish. I hate Grandpa.

They look up at the SOUND of 'ack-ack' fire. BILL spots a
German plane high above them.

BILL
Looks like a stray bomber. He's
lost his squadron.

Suddenly there is a BLAST OF AIR and a BOOMING EXPLOSION.
Two hundred yards up the river, a great plume of water
spurts up. They drop flat on the steps of the weir. BILL
peers cautiously over the rim of the waterfall. SUE seems
his astonishment turn to a broad grin. Floating towards
the weir are dozens of fish stunned by the blast. Joyously,
they gather them up and throw them into the boat.

EXT. BUNGALOW - DAY

GRACE, dawn and the GRANDPARENTS all look amazed admiration
at the boat laden with fish.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
This is going too far, young man.

BILL
But Grandpa, you said...

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
I concede I was insistent, but how
the Devil...

DAWN looks sharply at the smug faces of her brother and
sister.

DAWN
It looks a bit fishy to me.

GRACE
Could we salt them, or smoke them,
do you think?

They fall to unloading the fish.

GRANDMA
It's like feeding of the five
thousand. It's a miracle.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Well,lad. So it's miracles now, is
it?

DAWN
They'll stink the place out by
morning. Why not invite all your
friends to supper, Grandpa.

He looks up darkly from his task.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
I have no friends, only relations.

EXT. RIVER - DAY

BILL, now wielding the pole with great aplomb, send the
punt gliding up river. DAWN heavily pregnant and languidly
melancholic, lies in the cushions, bare foot dangling in
the river. DAWN stiffens as the figure of a man in uniform
comes running along the riverbank. As he catches up with
them, he is revealed as BRUCE and the uniform of a Canadian
soldier. He waves and calls them.

DAWN
Ignore him, the bastard.

BILL hesitates, but a withering look from DAWN keeps him
on course. BRUCE levels with them. He calls across thirty
yards of river.

BRUCE
Dan! It's me!

She refuses even to acknowledge him. Under her breath, she
instructs BILL.

DAWN
Keep going. Stay on this bank.

BILL whips up speed, keeping to the opposite side of the
river from BRUCE, who wades out up to his knees and holds
out his arms, pleadingly.

BRUCE
Give me a chance to explain.

SUE waves at him. DAWN glowers at her.

DAWN
I'm going to kill you, Sue Rohan.

Fully clothed, his khaki cap perched on his head, BRUCE
swims out towards the punt. By the time he reaches the
middle of the river, they are fifty years upstream. BRUCE
swims back to the shore. Dripping wet, he runs up the
riverbank until he is well ahead of the punt and plunges
in again. This time, his course coincides with the punt.
He grabs the side of the boat and hangs on, out of breath.

BRUCE
Couldn't write...secret
posting...came as soon as I heard
about the baby.

DAWN grabs a paddle and forces him under the water. He
pops up further down the boat.

BRUCE
I went AWOL to be with you. I'm a
deserter.

She cracks the paddle over his head. He sinks under the
water, his cap floats away. BILL rescues it. BRUCE does
not reappear. They wait, become alarmed. DAWN kneels down,
peers into the water.

DAWN
Oh, Bruce, Bruce. What have I done?

His head pops up inches from her face. Levering himself up
on the boat, he kisses her on the mouth. She grabs his
hair smothering him with kisses.

DAWN
I missed you so much.

BILL and SUE exchange disgusted looks.

INT. CHURCH - DAY

They are all gathered together. GRANDFATHER GEORGE, GRANDMA,
GRACE, HOPE, CHARITY, BILL and SUE. CLIVE, in uniform,
gives his daughter way. MAC and MOLLY are together again
All witness the quiet, subdued marriage of DAWN and BRUCE.
The only guests are two military POLICEMEN sit in the back.
They appear to be ordinary soldiers until they step outside
the church and put their red caps on.

EXT. CHURCH - DAY

The bridal pair come out and the VICAR, considerably
embarrassed, makes his excuses and backs away. A picture
is taken. The REDCAPS seize BRUCE by each arm. DAWN clings
to him, a last kiss, and he is borne away. They all stand
at the church doors waving to him as he is driven away in
a jeep. There is some dutiful sniffing from the women,
but since DAWN seems quite happy, there is no need for
sympathetic tears. GRACE impulsively hugs MOLLY.

GRACE
I'm so glad you could come. Here
we are, all together again.

MOLLY
Happy as can be. In the old groove.

CLIVE shakes MAC's hand warmly.

MAC
So you're going to be a grandfather.

CLIVE
And I'm still just a lad myself.

MAC
Don't bother to grow up. It's no
fun at all.

EXT. BUNGALOW - DAY

The party is on the veranda. BILL and SUE sit on the steps.
GRANDFATHER is alone on the swing seat. GRACE and her three
sisters are a sting quartet. They finish a piece. The others
clap. It leaves them a little melancholy.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
What can you do with four daughters,
I asked myself, A string quartet
was all I could come up with. They
hated me for making them learn.

GRACE
And now we're glad you did.

CLIVE raises his glass. He is tipsy.

CLIVE
Here's to music. And absent friends.

MAC
And absent bridegrooms!

CLIVE
And the bride.

ALL
The bride.

CLIVE
And here's to my C.O. He's wangled
me a posting close to home. He
said your house burns down, your
daughter gets married, you're always
on compassionate leave. You might
as well stay down there!

There are cries of congratulations and encouragement.

GRACE
I've found a bungalow to rent up
the towpath, Clive. I never want
to leave the river again. The
children have had such a wonderful
summer.

CLIVE
Fair enough.
(raises glass)
The river.

ALL
The river.

CLIVE
And loyal friends.

He tips his glass at MAC, who squirms a little. The drink
has made CLIVE sound excessively sincere and sentimental,
so much so that if he were sober, it might seem like irony.

CLIVE
...and good and faithful wives.

He points his glass at MOLLY and GRACE and waves it at the
sisters and DAWN.

CLIVE
We hope, and trust.

He laughs, and the others join in, an awkward moment. GRACE
and MOLLY catch each others eye.

CLIVE
And grumpy grandfathers.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Since you are shortly to join our
ranks, I throw down the gauntlet.
A cricket match. You and Mac against
Bill and me. Back garden.

The three men and one boy rise to the challenge and file
down the side of the house to the lawn at the back.

CLIVE
You know Mac played for Surrey
Seconds, and I opened for the Indian
Army. Are you sure...

GRANDFATHER GEORGE waves his objection aside.

MAC
(to Clive, an aside)
It's an olive branch. Take it.
It's the best he can do.

EXT. BUNGALOW - GARDEN - DAY

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
We're putting you in to bat.

He hands CLIVE the bat, and flips the ball to BILL with a
broad wink. CLIVE takes guard against the apple tree, which
is now heavy with fruit. BILL bowls. The ball turns, beats
the bat. MAC pats down the grass where the ball bounced.

CLIVE
Fine delivery, Bill, Good length.
Turned a bit too.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE hands the ball back to BILL and nudges
him.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
(whispering)
Give him the you-know-what.

BILL
Very well, Grandpa.

BILL delivers his googly. It bamboozles is father who pops
up caught and bowled. CLIVE is startled. As MAC takes the
bat, CLIVE offers a warning.

CLIVE
I think it was a googly.

MAC takes guard. BILL Bowls. He plays forward, smothering
the spin. Still no run. The next ball is pitched short.
MAC plays back, waits for the ball to break in from the
leg which it does more sharply than he expects. He just
manages to dig it out. The next is the googly. MAC does
not spot it. It cuts i from the off and clean bowls him.
GRANDFATHER GEORGE cackles triumphantly.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Googly. You didn't spot it either.

CLIVE
I taught him how and now he turns
it against me.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
The law of life. Cruel, isn't it?

MAC
The wicked old bugger.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
This boy will make his way in the
world.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE slaps BILL on the back with such
enthusiasm that he sends the boy sprawling. CLIVE catches
him, holds him close and whispers in his ear.

CLIVE
I'm proud of you.

Cries of alarm come from the house. CLIVE hears his name
called. They hurry back.

INT. BUNGALOW - LIVING ROOM - DAY

The men arrive to find the women in a state of alarm. They
are gathered in a knot around DAWN. BILL pushes his way
forward.

GRACE
Clive, go for the doctor. It's
Dawn. She's in labour.

BILL peers between the women and catches a glimpse of DAWN
standing arched against a chair, one hand supporting the
baby's head which has appeared between her legs.

CLIVE
Hot water! Lots of hot water!

FAITH
What for?

CLIVE
I don't know. They always say that
at the pictures.

He rushes out.

EXT. BUNGALOW - VERANDA - DAY

CLIVE runs down to veranda steps.

HOPE
She just went to the toilet, and
it came out.

MAC joins CLIVE and they run to the boat and fumble
awkwardly with the oars.

INT. BUNGALOW - LIVING ROOM - DAY

GRACE tries to be calm. She holds DAWN gingerly.

GRACE
Now take deep breaths, and push.

DAWN
Why? It's coming on its own. It
doesn't hurt.

BILL comes to SUE's side and they catch another glimpse of
the baby's head. SUE wrinkles her nose.

SUE
It's all sticky.

BILL passes clean out and crumples to the floor.

FADE TO BLACK:

EXT. GROUNDS OF A GREAT HOUSE - DAY

BILL is running flat out, running for his life. He passes
a blurred orchard, a garden, a park.

EXT. NEW BUNGALOW - DAY

BILL, still running hard, looks over his shoulder and turns
in to a bungalow that faces on to the river.

INT. NEW BUNGALOW - DAY

The living room is cheerful and spacious. Out of the window,
the sun sets over the river. DAWN breast-feeds the baby,
now a week or two old. GRACE knits a tiny pair of leggings.
SUE is drawing a picture. CLIVE snoozes in an armchair.
They are listening to Churchill on the wireless.

CHURCHILL (V.O.)
...it is not the end. It is not
the beginning.

BILL enters, flushed and panting. His eyes are bright with
excitement. He goes to DAWN and, reaching inside his shirt,
pulls out a peach and hands it to her reverentially.

BILL
I scrumped it. I nearly got caught.
They chased me for ages.

DAWN take's it. It looks pretty miserable. Most of the
furry skin has rubbed off during its hazardous journey
next to BILL's skin. DAWN's first impulse is to make a
sarcastic comment, but in her new maturity, she bites it
back and smiles.

DAWN
You did that for me, and on the
last day of your holidays?

BILL
(blushing)
Well, for the baby, really.

DAWN
Thank you Billy, from the baby and
me.

INT. GRANDFATHER GEORGE'S CAR - DAY

GRANDFATHER GEORGE drives his old Armstrong Siddeley
Sapphire along the river towpath. Beside him sits a very
morose BILL wearing a school cap, with a satchel, gasmask,
and a suitcase on his lap. GRANDFATHER GEORGE adjusts the
advance/retard lever and glares at the sullen boy.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
You miserable little tripe-hound.
I'm the one who should be fed up,
sacrificing my last sup of black
market petrol to take you to school.

BILL
I have to live in Rosehill Avenue
as well.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Only till they get you into the
local school.

BILL
With Mrs. Evans. I hate her.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
You'll be at home for the weekends.
Now shut up, or walk.

They pass a film unit setting up equipment on the river
bank. Extras dressed as soldiers - Germans, British,
American - lounge, smoke and drink tea.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Strapping fellows playing silly
buggers with a war on. Outrageous.

BILL cranes back watching as long as he can.

EXT. SCHOOL - DAY

The car draws up outside the school entrance. A grim wall
surrounds the institution and BILL gets out, head hung
low, and walks towards the gate as though to the gallows.
GRANDFATHER GEORGE watches from the car. He grips the
steering wheel angrily. A teacher strides past. GRANDFATHER
GEORGE shouts after him out of the window.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
All you do is knock the sense out
of them and fill them up with muck.

EXT. SCHOOLYARD - DAY

As BILL enters, he is astonished to see hundreds of children
in a state of delirious celebration. Boys fling their caps
in the air. They cheer. They whoop. They run amok. Behind
them lie the smouldering ruins of the school. BILL cheers
louder than anyone. He remembers his grandfather, turns on
his heel and runs back to the road.

EXT. SCHOOL - DAY

GRANDFATHER GEORGE is awkwardly turning the car in the
road. He drives off. BILL runs flat out and comes up to
the window, shouting.

BILL
Grandpa! There's no school! It's
been hit by a bomb!

GRANDFATHER GEORGE slows up.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
I have to hand it to you, Bill,
you come up with some good ones.
Go back and take your medicine.

He drives off leaving BILL stranded. A fire engine and ARP
vehicles race up to the school. They pass GRANDFATHER GEORGE
and doubt shows in is face. He stops, gets out. Boys are
spilling out of school, cheering. BILL runs up to him.

BILL
It's true.

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
You're much more convincing when
you're making it up.

They get into the car.

BILL
Grandpa, if you think of something
hard enough, can you make it happen?

GRANDFATHER GEORGE
Apparently so.

A barking laugh wells up and escapes his throat. It bursts
forth in great waves like a flood that has been dammed up
for years.

EXT. RIVER - DAY

GRANDFATHER GEORGE's laugh, and BILL's too, ring out over
the autumn river which beckons to BILL with the promise of
stolen days.

FADE OUT:

THE END

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