coming soon: fate and asparagus

Asparagus field (image copyright Ewais and Shutterstock 2015)

Asparagus field (image copyright Ewais and Shutterstock 2015)

Running a pub can be tricky. You need to be the sociable type, good at defusing conflict. But what can you do when an entire army turns up on your doorstep, half drunk and looking for more? That is what happened to my great–grandfather Aloïs in the summer of 1914.

A bomb in Sarajevo, bickering imperial powers and two months later German infantry swept through Belgium, on their way to France.

To call my latest short story, Fate and Asparagus, an account of that Thursday in September 1914, would be to simplify things. A hundred years after the event, all the eyewitnesses have disappeared and much detail is shrouded in the mists of time. Memory and narration may distort as much as they shape.

Little did I realise, when I migrated from Belgium to Australia, that within my first week in Melbourne I would stumble upon a treasure trove that shed new light upon my family history… Fate and Asparagus tells that story. I thought I would complement it by showing, in this post, some of the artefacts referred to in the tale of Aloïs and his son Jeang.


Read Fate and Asparagus to find out what the objects below have to do with each other –– and with asparagus. Check my Fate and Asparagus page for details.

Andrea Martinello: "L'asparago bianco di Bassano." Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Licence

Andrea Martinello: “L’asparago bianco di Bassano.” Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Licence

The bullet Jeang showed me.

The bullet Jeang showed me.

A shell Jeang brought back from the front.

A shell Jeang brought back from the front.

Jeang's helmet – French army issue.

Jeang’s helmet – French army issue.

Postwar pose – Jean-Baptiste Delcon circa 1918.

Postwar pose – Jean-Baptiste Delcon circa 1918.

Four years of trench warfare and you get one of these...

Four years of trench warfare and you get one of these…

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