The Anonymous Widower

Where Europe And America Divide

I hadn’t expected this area at all. It’s a rift valley, where the American and the European plates are dividing.

The lake is called Þingvallavatn and there is a description of the area here.

In the middle of it all, is the place where the Icelandic parliament; the Althing, was founded in 930. For this reason and also because of the geological significance, the whole are of Þingvellir is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It’s also an area where some of Game of Thrones is shot.

July 14, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Free Pussy Riot

This was the slogan on a placard objecting to President Putin’s policies in London today.

I do know what Pussy Riot is, but taken in straight English, it could be read another way.

August 2, 2012 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

Aung San Suu Kyi and the DJ

Years ago, I can remember Dave Lee Travis on Radio 1 on Sunday mornings, whilst I was writing Artemis. I suspect as a young mother in Oxford, Ms Suu Kyi was listening to the same program.

Aung San Suu Kyi then went back to Burma to care for her dying mother and for twenty four years she couldn’t return to the UK, as she feared any return to her family would mean the Generals wouldn’t let go back to Burma.  She couldn’t even return for the death of her husband, Michael Aris.

But during those years of isolation in Burma, she did at least have the BBC World Service, which kept her in touch and she listened to the shows of Dave Lee Travis, who briefly met her yesterday.

In some ways I can understand her isolation, although I’ve never suffered like she has.  When I had my stroke in Hong Kong, there was only CNN, that I could understand on the television. But at least, I could get BBC Radio 5 at most times through the Internet. Never has a broadcasting channel been so important to my sanity.

Today, Aung San Suu Kyi is praised in the first leader of The Times. The last sentence is something we should all remember.

She not only represents a better future for Burma, but testifies to the resilience of the human spirit in extreme adversity.

I very much agree with that. She has also been an extreme example to me, as to how to cope with the worst that life can throw at you. But then I’m not alone and thousands of miles from my friends and family.


June 20, 2012 Posted by | Health, World | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Will Expelling Two Syrian Diplomats Make Any Difference?

Of Course it won’t! Assad’s vile regime will expel or worse two of our diplomats. And two from all the other countries that have sent a couple of Syrian diplomats home.

I can’t see a solution to this, whilst the Russians and China back the Syrians.  After all, kicking Assad out of power, would set a terrible precedent for their own human rights abuses.

May 29, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment

Formula One in Bahrain

May I suggest that we all show our disgust at the non-cancellation of the Bahrain Grand Prix, by not watching or listening to the race. Even without satellite TV, I’m certain I can find something else to watch or listen to.

I suspect that the race clashes on Sunday with the London Marathon and I might go to see that anyway.

April 20, 2012 Posted by | Sport | , , | Leave a comment

Putting The Stiletto In Deep

The wives of ambassadors, have an image, which probably owes a lot to the Ferroro Rocher adverts of a few years ago.

But now the wife of the German Ambassador to the UN, Huberta von Voss-Wittig and her British counterpart, Sheila Lyall Grant have made a video that apopeakls to Asma Assad to get her husband to stop the violence in Syria.

The video is shown in this report in the Guardian.

To say it doesn’t lack punch would be an understatement!

The sad thing though is that it will probably have no effect.

April 19, 2012 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

How To Win a Motor Race

I had to laugh at this article on the BBC web site. It seems that Turkmenistan is one of those countries, where what the President wants, the President gets!

I notice that he got elected last time by 97% of those who voted.

April 8, 2012 Posted by | Sport, World | , | Leave a comment

The Falklands Legacy

I have the view that the Falklands War had a much greater effect on the thirty years since Argentina invaded, than we generally think.

I travelled in Europe both before and after the war and it brought a great change to the way Europe thought about the Russian menace.  Not about the threat of nuclear war, but a lot of our forces atb the time were lined up with the Germans, the French, the Americans and others to fight the Russian tanks, when they were ordered to attack. But after the Falklands War, it was now apparent that a well-trained volunteer army, could always outfight a conscript one, who wanted to be elsewhere and I think this gave Europe a much stronger backbone against a Soviet invasion.

It wasn’t the sole reason obviously, but it helped to break-up the Soviet Union and release their stranglehold on the satellites.  Remember most Soviet commanders at the time had very deep knowledge of the very brutal Second World War they had fought and from what I have read and heard, wouldn’t have really wanted to do it again.  After all, when there was the coup later againt Boris Yeltzin, the Army stayed loyal.

I also wonder what would have happened, if we hadn’t regained the Islands by force.

I suspect that Guatemala would have done what they have wanted to do for years and absorbed Belize.

And would we have gone to regain Kuwait from Saddam in the First Gulf War? The Americans might have gone, because they needed the oil.

The Falklands War sent a powerful message in terms of democracy.  But it was a tragic, that a bunch of geriatric dictators, decided to invade, in a vain effort to cling to power.

April 2, 2012 Posted by | World | , , , , | 4 Comments

Getting Emotional

Since the last stroke, I sometimes get a bit emotional. When people ask how I am and they say nice things, sometimes it can make me cry. But then I’ve been through a lot with the death of C and our youngest son and the strokes haven’t helped.

But then I’ve always been a bit like that. This piece is from the book I wrote about life with C.

There are quite a few people, places and events that have radically altered the way that I think and how I conduct my life.  One event was the death of Jan Palach in Czechoslovakia.  He committed suicide by setting himself on fire in Wenceslas Square on January the nineteenth, 1969, as a protest against the Soviet invasion.

I swore to C that one day, I would stand in Wenceslas Square in a totally free and liberated Czechoslovakia.

With the coming of Go, British Airways low-cost airline started by Barbara Cassani, Prague was suddenly a short flight away from Stansted.  I should have gone earlier, as the Velvet Revolution that had ousted the Soviet-backed Communist regime had been ten years before. 

But I hadn’t and I regret that.

We stayed at the Hoffmeister, which has all the charm and service expected of a Relais & Châteaux hotel.  It was seriously good and from reading reports on the Internet, it still appears to be.

The weekend was our thirty-third wedding anniversary, but I have no recollection of where or what we ate on the seventh.  All I do know is that the food and wine was excellent throughout the time we were in Prague.

But it was to stand in Wenceslas Square that was one of the main reasons that we had gone to Prague.

I cried! 

And I cried buckets!

Will I ever be able to do the same in Harare, Rangoon and the many other places in this world, where people are oppressed and murdered by the state?

I wrote that in probably about January 2008 soon after C died. Do I feel the same now? Perhaps, I actually feel stronger about the last statement, as there are other places I could add to the list.

I sometimes wonder how C felt about Jan Palach! She booked that trip and she knew how I felt.  But remember too, than he was only 15 days older than she was!

Perhaps I should return to Prague? I will only do that, when there are no more demons in my mind, dragons to slay and goals to fulfil.

In other words, I never will return!

July 16, 2010 Posted by | Health, Transport, World | , , , , | 7 Comments