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00pm and on page 400 we are told “it was a beautiful evening” and that the sun is “was sinking low ...
on 29 August 2014
I thought the Longest Day was about the Normandy Landings until I read The Wedding Day. On page 368, Annie wakes up in Devon to learn that her fiancé has attempted suicide and is in the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. On page 370 we are told that it is 9.00 am. Annie drives to London (on page 375 she arrives “some hours later”) then “weaves her way through the busy streets to the Fulham Road”, parks up, “made” herself walk rather than run through the jostling crowds, and at the hospital encounters her fiance’s aunt and has a conversation with her that lasts from page 376 to 383. By my reckoning it’s now about 2.00 pm, and we’re into the next chapter. She visits her fiancé and talks everything through for the whole of this chapter, then goes and sits in her car “for a long while.” It must be getting on for 4.00pm by now and she knows that “after a four-hour drive from Devon….plus another hour to Cornwall” she should spend the night in London but, instead, just pops home to collect the post before setting off on page 399 for “a long drive” and, “just as the evening sun was setting” gets to her friend’s house in Trebetherick. It should, by now, be about 10.00pm and on page 400 we are told “it was a beautiful evening” and that the sun is “was sinking low and pink over the water.” Annie then has a conversation with her friends Rosie and Dan which lasts for nine pages. She then drives to Taplow House but gets stuck behind “the slowest tractor in the West country” behind which she crawls while she reads her post. When she gets to Taplow House, she finds Madeleine Malone in “the gloom of the timbered sitting room.” They talk for eight pages, then Annie runs to find Matt and the children. No mention of it being dark, but it must be getting on for midnight. Then there’s a showdown that goes on for a long time, Madeleine drives away with the boy and Matt walks off, and Annie finds him sitting on the rocks. “The sun had gone behind the water now, and an evening wind began to stir….the green hills opposite were losing their colour, turning to iron grey in the twilight.” Matt and Annie sort things out. Why aren’t they tired? I’m exhausted. But yet another visitor, Louise, turns up who on page 441 is able to run down the terrace steps without a torch. They all sit in the garden and Matt goes inside to “fetch a bottle” (not mugs of Horlicks) during which time Madeleine returns with Tod. They had got as far as Launceston where there’d been a different showdown. That must have taken a while. Padstow to Launceston and back would take a couple of hours - plus the showdown. (“He wouldn’t speak to me,” Madeleine said, “But eventually I made him talk.” See what I mean?) On page 449 Louise says that Madeleine can’t possibly drive all the way back to Cambridge and should spend the night. Oh good, is it night time? Are we nearly there? On page 450, Annie notices that it is almost dark and on page 451 that the heavens were “clear, dark and relentlessly deep, and now with a smattering of stars.” We’re getting there, then. She finds Matt, they sort things out and are caught kissing by the children. Matt hands a wad of tenners to them and tells them to catch the ferry to Padstow and get a pizza, then go around the town(because, clearly the shops are still open) spending “the rest on mindless junk” but to GET BACK BY TEN o'CLOCK. Yes, all this in one day.