A World War II bomber crew veteran goes to the neighbors’ Guy Fawkes celebration the week after the Cuban Missile Crisis and his daughter’s wedding. He is reminded of his wartime experiences by the fireworks and a cup of Bovril.

This is more a character sketch than a story – there’s not a lot in the way of plot or even action. But it does deftly pull together several strands of history, and makes of a cup of beef tea a Proustian madeleine that transports the main character back to the mornings after his wartime bombing missions.