Ursula has joined the Air Raid Precautions (ARP) department, working as a warden to rescue people from buildings after bombs fall on London.
Her fellow wardens include Miss Woolf, a retired hospital matron; Mr. Durkin, who misquotes literature all the time; veterans of WWI Mr. Simms and Mr. Palmer; Herr Zimmerman, a German refugee; and Mr. Bullock, a wrestler who has a lot of friends who are strippers.
The first serious incident involved a house that suffered a direct hit. Surprisingly, everyone survived the blast, but a water pipe burst, flooding the basement and drowning all fifteen people.
Later, they need someone slim to wriggle through another hole, so Ursula crawls through and finds a dead body.
That night is rainy and gross and Ursula is so exhausted she almost falls right into an enormous crater, but Mr. Bullock grabs her before she tumbles to her death.
He sends her home to the apartment she shares with Millie.
The next day, she notices some of Miss Woolf's notes on her desk for some reason. They mention "one dog still operating" (25.82), but Ursula can't remember seeing a dog anywhere.
At some point later, Ursula is at Fox Corner eating lunch outside with her family.
She mentions that she has "a young man" (25.111) named Ralph, whom she met in her German class.
That night, Hugh walks her to the station, but the last train has left by the time they get there.
There is an engine going, however, and Fred Smith offers to let her ride on the engine back to London.
Ursula agrees. She rides to London in an engine that's "hotter than hell" (25.159) and stumbles home through a blackout.
Millie remarks that Ursula looks "like a coal miner" (25.172) when she arrives.
Ursula and Miss Woolf are keeping watch as a full-scale raid is in progress.
They share stories of their lives with one another, Ursula telling Miss Woolf all about her younger brothers, Jimmy and Teddy.
She went out with Jimmy a few weeks ago, and found a girl crying in the ladies' room.
Her name is Renee (Renee Miller, whom Ursula doesn't really know in this life), and Ursula notices that she carries a gold cigarette case, the same one Crighton used to carry.
When Jimmy leaves, Ursula tells him to promise he won't die: "Do my best" (25.235), he says.
It's Hugh's funeral.
He had a heart attack on the lawn and died in his chair, where Izzie found him.
Nancy Shawcross reads a poem at the funeral, while Pamela and Bridget practically have to hold Sylvie up near the open grave.
Izzie decides to stay at Fox Corner, but neither she nor Sylvie can bring themselves to sort through Hugh's things.
Bridget and Ursula do it, packing up his clothes to give away.
Before Ursula leaves, Izzie confesses to Ursula that she had a baby, a boy who is probably as old as Ursula is now.
Now that Hugh's gone, Izzie has no way of tracking down her child, a child who is most likely now the enemy. (In a Nazi sense, not in a Rosemary's Baby sense.)
All the wardens in Ursula's ward of the ARP are having a good ol' time—playing piano and violin, singing opera, dancing—when the warning goes off.
Ursula has a premonition that things aren't going to go well.
Sure enough, the incident is pretty bad. An apartment building has been pretty much leveled by a bomb.
It turns out to be the apartment building Ursula was living in back in the "A Lovely Day Tomorrow" chapters.
A woman (whom Ursula doesn't know as Mrs. Appleyard) asks for her baby, Emil, then dies.
They also find a smart-mouthed woman pinned by some wreckage.
It's Renee Miller, who ends up dying in front of them; Ursula collects her identity card and her gold cigarette case.
As they continue to explore the wreckage, Ursula finds Emil, the baby… when she steps on his dead body.
Stepping on dead babies sure works up an appetite, so Ursula heads to canteen for a snack, but she gets distracted by a dog up the street.
She goes to check on the little dog, a terrier, and as she's with it, the rest of the apartment building falls right on the canteen.
It kills Mr. Emslie, one of the wardens, and Tony, the messenger boy.
Fred Smith, who is a fireman on the scene, is mad that they parked the canteen there.
Ursula realizes that he's angry "because they were dead, not because they were stupid" (25.375).
He offers to walk her home, but they go to Izzie's empty house instead and have sex in one of the empty bedrooms.
After, as they're lying there smoking cigarettes, Fred says "I don't really pick up strange women and f*** them in posh houses" (25.393). Sure you don't, Fred…
His crass attitude doesn't sit right with Ursula, and she later tells Millie that he was "disappointing" (25.400).
Despite her dalliance with Fred Smith, Ursula continues seeing Ralph, who is a lot sweeter in bed than Fred.
She's also boinking Crighton again on the side.
Ursula takes a break from patrolling when Teddy comes to visit.
She gives him the little terrier, now named Lucky, to take care of.
There's a terrible raid later, which blows off the roof of Ursula and Millie's apartment building. Even if they always wanted a skylight, they probably didn't expect it to happen like that.
At least they're not there when it happens.
Ursula continues to stay there in the open-air arrangement, but when Millie returns, she thinks Ursula has lost her mind and insists they move.
She later hunts down Fred Smith again, and he apologizes for being "a complete arse" (25.481) the last time they were together.
He also says, "Do you know your problem, Miss Todd?" (25.483) in a flirty way, but before he can answer, the siren goes off and he has to rush for duty.
He never gets to answer, though, since he's crushed by a wall in the fire.
Just when things can't get worse, they get worse: Teddy's plane goes down.
Maurice delivers the news to Ursula.
Izzie comes to get her and take her to Fox Corner. She's able to drive them because she knows a man who can get her petrol ration coupons.
Everyone is distraught and trying to hold out hope that he survived, but Maurice insists he's dead.
To find out for sure, Ursula goes to talk to Roy Holt, one of Teddy's crewmates.
He says there's no way Teddy could have survived, and he returns Lucky to Ursula. (That dog sure didn't live up to his name.)
Sylvie soon kills herself by overdosing on sleeping pills.
Pamela is to inherit Fox Corner, and the house's contents are to be divided among the children.
Ursula takes the little carriage clock; Jimmy doesn't want anything; Teddy is dead; and Maurice sends a truck, loots the house, and sells everything. What a model brother.
Ursula is in her apartment gorging herself on Pammy's care package (remember this from Chapter 18?) and the box of Milk Tray.
The power goes out… Ursula starts to feel very, very tired (from all the gas leaking into her apartment when the pilot light goes out…).
But this time, the power comes back on soon, and Ursula doesn't die of gas inhalation. Whew.
Ursula, now 57, has a date with Benjamin Cole (finally), but she's not attracted to him anymore (darn).
"Catch me next time around" (25.592), she tells him, maybe or maybe not realizing that this is totally possible.
She has recently retired from her job and been given tickets for Beethoven's Choral.
She'd love to invite Miss Woolf, except she's dead—she died back in 1944—and Crighton's dead, too. It seems like all her friends are dead.
Ursula decides to take Nigel, her favorite nephew, with her.
While they're out, she starts talking about Hitler as though she met him (her past lives blurring over?).
In July, she takes a walk through the park and eats an ice cream.
She falls asleep on a park bench and wakes up with a headache—it's really bad, so she closes her eyes and falls asleep again.
Even though it's July, "snow began to fall" (25.664).
Oh, you know what that means. Ursula is born again.