In London Molly Panter Downes was still chronicling the war for the benefit of her readers in the New Yorker magazine. Her 9th May 1943 piece told the story :
The African victory came so suddenly that astonished Londoners had hardly enough breath left to cheer with. The news of the all-out offensive had already put everyone in a mood of confident expectation, but the fall of Tunis and Bizerte was so far in advance of schedule that the first jubilation was just faintly dazed.
By evening, however, most citizens had got over the shock sufficiently to put on their hats and go forth to celebrate. In spite of official warnings that enemy resistance hadn’t ended yet, beaming Britons insisted on talking, over their victory pints, as though the boys had rolled Africa up in a bundle and were now on the European road to Berlin.
All this excitement was the climax of a growingly cheerful week. The American success at Mateur had already been enthusiastically played up by the papers and welcomed as warmly by the public, which bought its evening penny worth of good cheer from news vendors who had chalked their boards with such amiabilities as “Go it, Uncle Sam” and “The Yanks are coming and the Jerries are running.” Everyone seemed particularly pleased, too, that the French had been in on the Tunisian triumph.
Shabby as the town may be, the parks have once again put on their not especially abundant but still gay floral show to gladden weary eyes. The tulips near Wellington Barracks draw throngs of Whitehall clerks, who come at lunchtime to eat their sandwiches and to admire.
Spring has also had its effect on the sheep in Hyde Park, who have been taking advantage of the absence of railings, removed to augment the nation’s scrap-metal pile, and strolling out into the road ways, where they have been known to lie down in front of nonplused jeeps.
As one more indication that spring is here, and also as a gesture of condence in London’s new barrage, a couple of ducks have trustingly nested in one of the big reserve water tanks near Bond Street. They seem to like it there.
Although the expected renewal of the blitz is still lacking, the theatres cautiously continue to start their evening performances at six-thirty. So far, the most important event of what has been a healthy theatrical season was the offering of two new Noel Coward plays, which opened at the Haymarket last week.