My mother-in-law often spoke fondly of the Blitz. I had visions of her as a plucky young woman cycling down the bombed streets of London, going to work as a secretary to the stars of show business, enjoying ridiculously cheap hotel meals, and in the evenings going out on the town with an exciting boyfriend – perhaps a Turkish admiral, perhaps the man she later married. It always sounded as if she was having the time of her life. I was puzzled by this, because I knew her parents had both been killed in a bombing raid, though she didn’t talk about that. Was she unconsciously putting a positive spin on a time that must have been distressing and terrifying?