Friday, July 08, 2005


I thought of adding an extra Blog entry yesterday -- then I thought, nobody is going to turn to Jean's Knitting for breaking news.

All my London loved ones are safe and well. Indeed, I first heard the news in a phone call from Rachel. Only two of them -- Alexander's wife Ketki, at her bank; and Rachel's younger son Joseph, at school -- were remotely in the affected part of London. Both will have had a lot of trouble getting home. I haven't heard about that yet.

Hellie (pictured here recently) is finishing school, waiting for her A-Level results. She was at school yesterday, in south London. Their Leaving Ball, scheduled for yesterday evening, was cancelled,and the annual prize-giving likewise. "What we can do," the headmistress said, "is stand up and sing 'Jerusalem'." So they did, and Hellie says it was very moving.

I wondered, when Tony left Gleneagles yesterday to fly to London, whether G.W. Bush thought about 9/11 as he waved goodbye. He was in Florida when the news reached him, and he spent the day, as I remember, flying to Nebraska or some such place, to save his skin, just in case it was in danger. I was surprised then, and since, that nobody seemed to mind. His job was to go back to Washington, I think, at whatever risk to self, and do for the nation what Mayor Guiliani did for New York. (Guiliani was in London yesterday, not far from King's Cross.)

Of course 9/11 was a terrorist attack on a far greater scale, but yesterday morning we didn't entirely know, even Tony didn't, just what had happened and was happening in London.

It is not easy to do the right thing in a sudden, totally unexpected crisis. A person who got it right was Prince Charles, on the day the first Princess of Wales died. They were completely divorced, and I am sure he hated her as bitterly as anyone could hate a divorced spouse -- and, like most of us, I have some experience of those singe-ing emotions. But he figured out at once, with no time for second-guessing, that he must go to Paris that day and escort her body home. I think I read somewhere that officialdom tried to make difficulties, and treat her as the corpse of any other Briton dead abroad might be treated. I can't remember what that treatment would have been, but paper-work and perhaps coroners and perhaps even a police mortuary were involved. Prince Charles knocked that aside, and brought her back to lie in a royal chapel until the splendid funeral.




  1. Anonymous8:18 AM

    hi jean,

    I actually browsed by your blog in the afternoon yesterday to check out wheter or not you had blogged an extra time:-)

    glad to hear all your loved ones are alright.

    and yes I agree with you - it is in the leader's duty to stand in the centre of the turmoil, and not run away. because if the leader behaves like a rabbit, then it's only a matter of time before the fox have him for dinner

  2. Jean,
    I am so happy to hear that all is well with you and your family and loved ones. My heart goes out to all over there and makes me feel so helpless. It is all so sad that it just chips away at any sense of hope for a peaceful world.

    I too checked to see if you posted a second time :--)

  3. I'm delighted to hear that your loved ones are safe. Your comment about G.W. is "spot on" as the British say. There are many of us who didn't approve his behavior and still believe he belonged in Washington, regardless.
    Mary Morrison

  4. You may know that I'm never one to give an inch to GW when it's unneccessary, but many of the stories about his behavior on 9/11 indicicated that despite sitting listening to nursery stories for 7 minutes after hearing the news, he DID want to return to Washington immediately, and it was instead the Secret Service that kept him hopscotching across the country. In fact, they wanted him to stay out of Washington for at least another day, but he insisted on returning and then gave that evening's speech from the Oval Office.