Sorry about that. All well here. Yesterday was a confusion of multiple breakfasts and trying to persuade Old Slowcoach to print Archie's boarding passes – two, because he was flying to Heathrow and then on to Athens; and re-packing with the addition of presents from us, and things his mother Helen had recently ordered to be sent here. We got the suitcase closed, but remained worried about weight.
All went well, except that it was a cold and brilliant day and the journey to the airport was a nightmare of Low Winter Sun. The suitcase was 0.2 kilograms over the limit and they waved it through. We parted just before noon with mutual good wishes for the festive season.
British readers will have spotted the flaw – maybe others as well. Archie phoned in mid-afternoon to say that he was still here. There had been a computer failure at air traffic control down south, and Heathrow was effectively closed. This item has been top-of-the-news ever since, and still is, this morning, We felt rather smug, having heard it from Archie first.
He got to London in the early evening and thought that he would still be able to get the flight to Athens, which had been similarly delayed. That was the last I heard. I hoped there might be a message on my little telephone this morning, but there isn't. I'm sure I'll hear something today, both about Archie and about the suitcase.
Otherwise, life goes on. Christmas cards have started arriving, and today I hope to put into practice my new idea of answering them as they come, rather than a year later. I have reached the half-way point on the edging of the final side of the Unst Bridal Shawl – no recent disasters. So this baby should reach FO status somewhere in January, surely. Archie's sweater progresses steadily.
Thank you, everybody, for your comments. I love Scotland – I love Alyth, come to that. When I was young we used sometimes to drive out at the weekend to a place called Franklin. It's presumably very near Detroit. Cider (=un-fermented apple juice) was a feature of Franklin. It was billed as “the town that time forgot”. I always think of that phrase when we go to Alyth. I could live there rather happily, given a good broadband connection.
(I've just google'd Franklin. It's still there, and still makes cider. I didn't get far enough to find out whether it's still the town that time forgot.)
But I don't like Mr Salmond. Nothing wrong with that. I am sure I could find you lots of people who love England and don't like Mr Cameron. I think Scotland is better off in the United Kingdom than otherwise, and I am glad that well more than half the population agrees. It was rather nice, in the days before the referendum, how we could and did talk to each other about it everywhere, over the counter at the butcher's, drinking beer at the Games, and disagree with each other without rancour. It isn't like that in the days before a General Election, when good manners dictate that the subject isn't mentioned.
As for oil, a lot of Mr Salmond's case was based on the wealth it brings Scotland. I'm sure I haven't imagined that. The recent, extraordinary fall in the price is already bringing changes – jobs lost, exploration cancelled. Scotland will be better able to weather this as part of the United Kingdom. All oil-exporting nations are affected – Saudi Arabia, Russia. It's worse in Scotland because North Sea oil is so expensive to extract.
Perhaps even Mr Salmond, lying awake at three in the morning, is a bit glad he doesn't have to deal with this.