Monday, January 21, 2008


Thanks to all for the attempt to explain. No doubt this morning’s papers will try, too. I didn’t know about “super delegates” and had begun to get the impression that nowadays the state primaries were all that mattered. I’m glad something is left for the boys in the back room to do.

Gran – I’m afraid the link with your comment doesn’t work – the appeal of Obama to me is youth and strength and intelligence and humour and handsomeness, much as I felt about JFK 48 years ago. And about no one since. I admire Bill Clinton for several things, not least what he achieved in Northern Ireland, but I never fell for him. With Obama there is the additional hope that, being black but not descended from slaves, he might be the man to heal America’s great wound.


Not much. I pressed on with the back of the gansey, attached another ball of yarn, and put another skein on the swift.

I also sent in my cheque for the knitting conference. It is remarkable what a chore it seems these days to write a cheque, address the envelope, write a covering message, assemble these things, affix a stamp, walk to the post box. Most of my life is conducted with a couple of clicks. Fishwife, I so hope you can contrive to be there.


The Beijing Mileses regularly travel to Britain on BA flight 036, which crashed last week at Heathrow. They feel a bit shaken, but since all of the passengers and crew are fine – many of the passengers didn’t know they had crashed, until they had to slide down those slides – none of the rest of us are very impressed.

My husband and I flew from Glasgow to London in the 60’s with a pilot – in those days, a sheet of paper with his name, and various bits of flight information, was actually passed back from the cockpit and circulated from hand to hand – with a pilot who, a few months later, perished with all hands on a third attempt to land at Heathrow in filthy weather. I think it was and remains the worst crash the airport ever had. Shakel was his name.

Alexander was working in NY in 1988. He came home for Christmas. His return journey was booked on Pan Am 103, five days after Lockerbie.

But the one I often think about happened on dry land. I was driving all four children to school. As I approached the one traffic light on the journey, it turned green, and since no one was waiting, I sailed across without slowing down. And then saw, in the rear-view window, a bus cross on the other road behind me, shooting the light. How much was in it? Less than a second?

But it’s impossible to worry in retrospect.


  1. A miss by an inch is as good as a miss by a mile, so my OH says, usually about his parking technique. It's just the nerves that suffer.

  2. Anonymous1:53 PM

    Those are the events that can confirm belief in some beneficent all-powerful force!

  3. That conference sounds like it could fascinating. And that there is an Eric W. Pasold OBE who donated funds to study knitting. I wonder what his story was? Happy times at his mother's knee? A family fortune from knitting wool?

  4. I should have 'googled' before posting-

  5. That conference sounds SO interesting.

    My nearest miss happened on a divided 6 lane freeway. I was traveling to my 3rd shift job at a hospital. Someone (I don't know whether male or female) entered the freeway via an exit ramp on my side. I think they were drunk because the headlights of the car were not on and they were speeding. I did not see them until the last minute. I was nearly hit head on. To this day I still don't know how a crash was avoided as I had closed my eyes as I swerved, anticipating the crash. The left side (driver's side) of my front bumper was damaged, the driver's side mirror was torn off and my left front tire was slashed. They kept driving. I still can't believe how fortunate I was.

  6. Anonymous10:55 PM

    Can I play too?

    It was a dark and stormy night (really), one or two other people were out, and there was virtually no traffic. I was crossing a large intersection in an urban area (street lights and everything) at a crosswalk where I had the walk sign. A car approaching from behind ran a red light, sped through the intersection, tires squealing, and made a turn right in front of me. I was walking with my hands in my coat pockets, elbows out. The car was so close, the aerial caught between my arm and my torso, under my armpit, and was torn off the car. I was ever so lightly bumped in the hip by the driver's side door. The car did not stop or slow down.

    I had not a mark on me, but had a severe case of the shakes about 10 minutes later, when I got to the coffee shop I was headed to.

  7. Anonymous5:43 PM

    Your "might-have-been" that resonates most for me is the Lockerbie flight, partly because my honey is a Syracuse grad. There's a large and prominently-located memorial at Syracuse University. After reading your post, I found myself wondering how the students of today view it. Is it so far in the past (before some of them were born!) that it's too remote to seem relevant? Some quick googling revealed that SU observes an annual Remembrance Week, and each year two students from Lockerbie Academy receive scholarships to study at SU. It's good to know the memories are kept alive in a constructive way.