Page 103. " He takes up his position in the right-hand service box "
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Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeSquash - Credit: Jens Buurgaard Nielsen
McEwan dedicates 13 pages and a great deal of mental effort to this squash match.  If you're unfamiliar with the rules, it may be worth glancing through them here.

World Squash Federation

Page 112. " No pasaran! "
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French Propaganda Poster, 1918
Public DomainFrench Propaganda Poster, 1918 - Credit: Maurice Neumont
"They shall not pass!" in Spanish.

A rallying cry for defenders, famously uttered by Isidora Dolores Ibárruri Gómez, a communist Republican leader, during the Siege of Madrid (1936-1939).  When Franco took Madrid, he retorted - three years on - with the words Hemos pasado ("We have passed").

The origin of the phrase may have been the Battle of Verdun, when General Robert Nivelle rallied his troops with the line "Ils ne passeront pas!".  The phrase was later inscribed on the badges of units serving on the Maginot Line.


Page 116. " a force at Jodrell Bank "
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Jodrell Bank Telescope
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeJodrell Bank Telescope - Credit: Mike Peel

Part of the University of Manchester, the Jodrell Bank Observatory is a leading research centre for astrophysics.  It has the third largest steerable radio telescope in the world.

Research subjects include meteors, dark matter, quasars and pulsars.

Google Map


Page 123. " a Falun Gong couple keeping vigil across the road from the Chinese embassy "
Falun Gong exercise
Creative Commons AttributionFalun Gong exercise - Credit: Longtrekhome

Falun Gong (also known as Falun Dafa) is a modern system of beliefs and practices founded in China in 1992 by Li Hongzhi (b. 1951).

The Chinese government declared it to be a cult in 1999. As a result, active involvement has been banned. There have since been reports of human rights abuses. 

Falun Dafa website Falun Gong

Page 125. " a reference to Shakespeare's St Crispin's Day speech "



This day is called the feast of Crispian:

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,

Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,

And rouse him at the name of Crispian.

He that shall live this day, and see old age,

Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,

And say "To-morrow is Saint Crispian":

Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.

And say "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."

Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,

But he'll remember with advantages

What feats he did that day:then shall our names,

Familiar in his mouth as household words

Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,

Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,

Be in their flowing cups freshly remember'd.

This story shall the good man teach his son;

And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,

From this day to the ending of the world,

But we in it shall be remember'd;

We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;

For he to-day that sheds his blood with me

Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,

This day shall gentle his condition:

And gentlemen in England now a-bed

Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,

And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks

That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.

Henry V  Act IV, Scene iii