Here, the sprawling forests bear witness to war, their floors pocked with craters from relentless bombing raids.
Here, in one of the rooms of the small cottage I renovated over the past few years, a German soldier left his mark – a large mural, a cartoonish graffiti of bawdy, boozing friars.
Here, at the edge of the nearby wood, surrounded by the shelled remains of workshops and bunkers, sits a V1 launching ramp aimed at London.
“Here”, is Normandy.
“Here”, is a small village of some two hundred souls, thirty miles or so from the Atlantic coast, roughly one hundred and twenty miles from the D-day landing beaches.
“Here”, a little-known part of the war caught ordinary people in its deadly maelstrom.
Researching the German soldier’s name and regiment, talking to the elderly villagers, remembering my mother’s harrowing stories of fleeing the German onslaught in 1940, and the resistance work of my wife’s grandparents, my novel Listen To The Colours came to life, dark and spare, the story of two childhood friends separated by Nazi ideology, and a twelve-year-old French boy who’s not like other boys.