Two minutes

I’ve just taken part in an enforced two minutes’ silence. An email went round stating that the group we’re a part of “is observing the two-minutes silence at noon today”. It’s no wonder that as a nation we’re fairly maudlin but slightly weird when these things get foisted on us as part of our jobs. (I’d rather have spent a few minutes quietly in the church down the road, but that wouldn’t have been culturally resilient of me, or something – we’re fiercely proud of standing together, then getting on with it, no matter what happens. Sometimes I wonder if the Blitz hurt London more than it helped.)

Also, why is it two minutes? What makes something worthy of two minutes? We gave only one minute to Bali – but two to New York (rather stingily, as everyone else was giving three). Apparently three minutes were observed following the Madrid bombings, but Buckingham Palace suggested only one for Diana. (Mind you, only one was suggested originally for Armistice Day in 1919, and the King had to step in and make it two.)

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