THE US President bleats about "illegal"
pictures of coffins of the US dead coming
home. Wisely, the British Army always
buried its dead in the theatre of battle;
that has now changed. Dead GIs too are now
brought home -- carried off the planes
feet first, as the soldier "keeps on
President Bush now tells the American
public that to "respect the privacy" of
the grieving families, pictures of coffins
should not be shown.
That excuse carries as much weight as
his original claims about the Weapons, the
uranium from Niger, Saddam's "nucular"
ambitions, the mobile weapons
laboratories, and all the other bellicose
guff that he and the Pentagon have spewed
forth to justify what is, in simple terms,
a war crime.
Parading the coffin is traditionally
the last mark of respect for a soldier;
John F Kennedy's was paraded down
Pennsylvania Avenue in 1963; two years
later, Winston Churchill's was paraded
down the Thames in a navy launch, while
millions lined the river banks.
My father's, wrapped in the British
flag, was borne in a hearse through the
streets and lanes of North Wales, and I
saw a lone British village policeman, a
bobby, swing to attention and snap a smart
salute as it passed by, an unforgettable
moment in my life, forty years ago.
In my book on the Nuremberg Trials I
quote the last letter written by a general
to his wife -- he had been granted the
uncomfortable privilege of knowing the
precise hour when he was to die. He bade
her to listen to the clock on Nuremberg's
St Lawrence cathedral:
"When the hour strikes," he wrote, "all
my friends will be gathered around you. On
a gun carriage rests my coffin, and all
the Germans soldiers are marching in
procession -- out in front the fallen,
with the living bringing up the rear."
That was Alfred Jodl, about to be
executed by a US army hangman for
conspiracy to launching an unprovoked war
against sovereign countries.
George Bush believes in bringing home
the coffins of soldiers who have died for
him by the hundred in the airborne
equivalent of a Waste Management truck.
That is the picture that he did not want
his voters to see.
One would like to think that sometimes
he and Tony Blair lie awake at night,
ashamed of what they have done.
Back to England tonight.. I cycle over to
the airport. Avis offers me a Cadillac for
$55, how can I refuse? At least I shall
drive up to the Overseas Highway in style.
I set out at two pm. British Airways
upgrade me to Club class. That's nice.
Still can't sleep. I work, stay awake most
of the night.
London. At three-thirty I drive over to
fetch Jessica. Nice school, good uniform,
good-class parents, from what I can see.
Her voice becomes more twee each time I
return; she's shot up another inch.
Unexpected letter from Stephen W. about
I posted with pictures on the Web.
grandfather, John Irving, was my
father's headmaster. My father held him
in great esteem. Two of the teachers in
the photographs . . . taught
my Dad. He never forgot them. They
contributed much towards making him,
and so many other boys, true Britons.
He often used to recite poems to me,
learned during his days at the school:
Kipling's Ballad of East and West,
Newbolt's Play the Game, and Scott's My
Native Land. At the start of the Boer
War he enlisted, and his education was
25 years in the British Army. He was
one of the most generous, good-natured
men I have ever known.
It's nice for some of us to know
where we came from. Incidentally, I
usually start the day clicking on your
website. Your manly stance, as
historian and fighter for the truth,
acts as a daily inspiration.
Not everybody agrees. At 3:09 pm there
is a phone call, anon: "So the Arabs are
'intrepid,' you f*ck?" He has a common
London or Jewish accent. Startled, I say
politely, "I beg your pardon?" But he's
not intrepid enough to offer his
HE has found the word intrepid
in my reply to a recent reader's letter. I
wrote (not for the first time):
Don't be misled by those who
say Mohammed Atta, et al. were
"attacking the United States." If they
had wished to attack Americans there
were more symbolic targets of attack
(the Statue of Liberty, for one); and
more cost-effective methods, e.g. they
could have sent their nineteen kamikaze
warriors to nineteen American shopping
malls with anthrax, or with belts of
As it was, this 2001 "Pearl Harbor"
(or Port Arthur, if you're an
historian) by nineteen intrepid young
Arabs brought down all seven buildings
of the World Trade Center, and ruined
three major airlines; and their deed
has turned most of the civilized world
against Washington --and damn near
brought down the US economy too.
I work on Churchill until 1:30 am (July
1945, Potsdam, A-bomb. Interesting
questions arise: e.g., precisely who at
Potsdam knew about the Japanese surrender
attempts and the Hiroshima decision?
Jessica has difficulty with her maths
homework, it was covered by lessons before
she arrived at the new school. She spends
an hour next to me, patiently listening to
solutions in algebra and statistics.
M. sends me the text of the Geneva
Convention, and the horrible report by US
General Antonio Taguba (right) on
the atrocities committed by British and
American troops in Iraq. I work until
three am scanning the latter's text, and
it on our website.
Up at 7:55 am to take Jessica to
school, then revert to bed for a
My barrister refuses to act as counsel
in my next action, for negligence, against
the law firm Amhurst, Brown, Colombotti,
as he does not want to act against a firm
which instructed him. Fair enough. But he
should have said so a year ago.
At 12:08 pm: anonymous Jewish caller,
"You lost, scumbag, you --." Nice
Up at eight. Hard work until eleven, then
drive to Sussex for this evening's talk.
First to Lady M.'s to collect her and her
friend, then to fetch my barrister outside
The Oratory, then down to Arundel. I last
heard of Arundel on holiday as a
nine-year-old in Southsea, in the summer
of 1947: that was the Joan Woodward murder
I collected all the press clippings on
the search for the murderer -- my
clippings books have all been seized by
the Trustee. The police knew who the
murderer was but couldn't nail him.
My passengers are like schoolchildren
on a summer outing. We stop for a coffee
at a gas station; the forecourt is in
uproar at the new prices, up 3p at 81p a
liter (about $5 a gallon). The proprietor
explains in a thin, reedy voice that his
coffee machine does not work; my
passengers vanish for half an hour towards
different patisseries, before I can stop
Lady M. hasn't seen green fields for
years; wants to see furrows. The barrister
lectures her that farmers plough in the
winter, not late spring. A look at the map
reveals how crazy our local people are in
fixing Horsham as the rendezvous point --
it is 40 miles from Arundel, when the
meeting point should be walking distance
from the lecture!
As we enter Arundel I tuck away all
visible signs of my ownership of the car
-- the Westminster permits, etc., to the
puzzlement of my naïve passengers; I
explain I am thinking ahead. We find the
Norfolk Arms already besieged by an enemy
rabble, and every window on the first
floor crowded with people hanging out to
watch the sport.
I drive straight past, unrecognized,
and park opposite the Castle to send out a
reconnaissance. Lady M. phones the Arms;
the receptionist informs her that there is
no meeting booked today (a lie).
I suggest we drive straight back, as
we've not been told the alternate
location. B. struggles back fifteen
minutes later, has spoken to a helpful
young "nazi", as she says, and there he is
coming up the hill even as she speaks.
He doesn't look like one of ours. He
has a black crash helmet, a ring in one
ear, and the puffy features of a homo. I
instruct her to lock her doors and
Arundel is not an easy town to exit
from; we park opposite a police station
five hundred yards from the Arms. I have a
cold drink in The Hart. Turns out that
this pub is in fact the alternative
location. I am not pleased, as I want to
return to London.
John O. helps me load boxes of books up
into the upstairs room at the back of the
pub, and sets up chairs. Five minutes
later he returns with the doleful news
that the mob is on its way.
They come thundering up the stairs,
ignoring O.'s polite requests to desist,
and demolish the room while I am held in a
corner. An unwashed young woman shrieks.
Another man comes in wearing a leather
jacket with studs and a Mohican haircut,
with the hair glued up in vertical spikes,
coloured alternately pink and orange; he
looks even more gross than that tollbooth
attendant on the Mass. Turnpike two years
While their burly ringleader spits
mouthfuls of sputum at me -- a mistake as
the police take away the products for DNA
checks -- the rest methodically destroy
the room. The ringleader comes within
inches of my face, raises his fist with
two fingers out, as if to jab me in the
eyes (almost: he knows the law), and
screams, "If you were younger you'd be on
the floor by now."
"With a dozen of you and one of me," I
suggest, "that sounds really brave."
From Chicago to Portland to Copenhagen,
and now quiet little Arundel in Sussex,
these pleasant people, these supporters of
Deborah Lipstadt and her like, all follow
the same washing-list of instructions, and
don't seem to realize it. I see the man in
the black crash helmet and ask him to call
the police. He looks at me blankly and
joins in the destruction. So I was
The police arrive, and make arrests.
Our rental car has had its tyres slashed
and bodywork vandalized. The police
confirm that they are holding several of
the thugs. Will I aid a prosecution? Not a
difficult decision. After a while, a
handwritten note in block capitals arrives
on the police sergeant's desk: it is from
a Mrs Goldstein over the road -- she has
witnessed the vandalizing of the car, and
gives a good description of the man with,
as she puts it, "the black top."
At Gatwick airport I am fitted out with
a new car, and return to London. Bente
asks diffidently what kind of an afternoon
it was, as in Had a Good Day at the Office
Dear, and why I am wearing a different
shirt. "Not much out of the usual," I say,
and go downstairs to shampoo as thoroughly
as I can: because who can say that one of
these thugs was not HIV-positive?
On the website I announce: "David
Irving speaks in Newcastle Tuesday." It is
of course a blind, designed to baffle the
enemy and waste their time.
2:23 pm an American voice phones: "This
is Roger Pilker of the Sacramento Bee. We
just wanted to know if you are the
pathetic fraud that you are," -- and hangs
up. I wonder what has led to this?
Up at 7:50 am and take Jessica to
Queen's Gate. She snaps on her seatbelt
automatically. She's really happy at the
new school, and today when we are talking
about her Mummy she flashes a smile at me
that is so beautiful that I will remember
it for the rest of my life.
Our short apartment lease is ending. I
spend two hours packaging her toys which
have accumulated in the drawing room over
the last two years, and dusting the
At 11:30 am to collect Lady M. from
Gloucester Road, then drive to The
Athenæum. I find a parking spot
right opposite; a Mayfair permit has its
uses. She has been bombarded with the
usual Establishment protests for inviting
me; that makes me uneasy, my policy at
present is to keep a low profile -- until
vol. iii is ready for publication.
lunch, and a very interesting talk by
four-star General Deverell, Iraq, Northern
Command, on innovations in warfare. I ask
his views on the American use of "civilian
contractors" (right) and he expresses
proper unease about it.
THE Palm Beach Post reports that a
journalist will "help" William Manchester
complete his third volume of Churchill. I
must get my own vol iii out before
I take Jessica to school, and see
another happy smile. I fetch her at five;
in the car, she teases me that she has
scored very poor marks today in English --
then bursts out that she got 93 percent,
and is top of her class with her latest
Yes, a professional writer's daughter
is duty bound to excel in English. Or is
she? I remember the Spanish ambassador
telling me some years ago over dinner of
his humiliation that his child had failed
"O"-level Spanish at a London school.
Bente is up this afternoon, thank
goodness, looking more beautiful than
ever. She wants me to drive her to the
school too to pick up Jessica; Jessica
will be over the moon, she has always said
that is her greatest dream.
A POLICE officer from Farnborough contacts
me by email:
I am interesting in finding
out the date, time, and location of
your proposed talk in the area in order
to ensure your own security, especially
after the problems encountered in
Arundel last week.
I reply: "Because of the security
problems experienced in Sussex I am
holding over the Farnborough talk until
October. I will approach you before the
date to see what we can do to avoid
The moment I give them the details they
will frighten off the location. The police
are often the problem, not the
Dominic Carman, the son of the late
George Carman, the famous libel barrister
and QC, writes: "I am interested to know
your view of the British National Party
and its chances in the forthcoming
I reply: "I know only what I read or
see on TV; the media appear to take Nick
Griffin quite seriously."
He now vouchsafes:
It may be of little comfort,
but my father considered Mr Justice
Gray's judgment to be flawed in the
I would have loved to brief
your father in the case, but funds were
just not available. Richard Rampton was
good, but won by crooked means: e.g.,
amending the defence at the last moment
to include 'racism' and 'antisemitism',
neither of which was pleaded in the
original Defence, and about which the
book made no mention whatsoever! Most
odd that Gray J allowed that to go
forward. It heavily prejudiced the
flavour of media reporting.
I followed all your father's
cases. . . The defendants
poured around six million pounds into
the Lipstadt courtroom.
At five pm I add, "A further comment on
the BNP. I saw their spokesman on
Newsnight last night; he made the worst
possible impression, uncouth,
ill-informed, and pudgy. The very
stereotype that the enemy of the BNP try
to promote. They really need to get a
graduate type to speak for their interests
in the media."
Eight pm, dinner at Lady Renouf's. John
Gouriet and wife come toward midnight. M.
rather infuriates by her habits of smoking
and taking snaps of everybody. Baron
Roderic von Bennigson is there too, friend
of the German ambassador; and my
barrister, who comments tartly on my
sloppy dress (pullover with hole,
loosenecked shirt, white socks, brown
shoes. I remind him all my clothes have
been seized by the Trustee, which shuts
Bente comes with me again to pick up
Jessica, and I am able to snatch a few
nice pictures of the historic moment in
the school yard.
All day sending out emails and letters
of invitation to potential speakers for
Cincinnati. Many won't even bother to
reply, that's the problem. Swift refusals
come from Professor William
Rubinstein of Wales and from Jim
Bacque ("I think you know why." -- Not
TUESDAY, June 1, 2004. Restless night,
I keep waking to look at the clock in the
dark, as I have an early flight from
London to Chicago.
I finish loading the car and leave at
10:30 am, after solemnly shaking hands
At the airport at eleven am. A big
shock here as the charge due to Avis is
£1,900-plus, instead of £700 or
so -- the vandalism in Arundel being to
Heavy traffic chokes the highway into
Chicago eleven hours later. On the
Interstate heading south I check into a
cheap motel, $37. Hooray. Sleep.
There is an infuriating smug and
insulting email from Professor Martin
Lally, of New Zealand, whom Joel
Hayward suggested I invite. Lally blames
me for inviting Richard E. last year.
So much for Lally's beliefs in free
speech. I had no idea what E. would say,
and say so: "I am very sorry now that I
extended the courteous invitation to you.
The air fare to Cincinnati would have come
out of my pocket, and that would have
clearly been wasted. I will ask Joel some
time to explain why on earth he
Shortly I get a warning email from a
Gillian L: "Dr Lally circulates all his
email correspondence very widely. You
might want to be careful not to become
dragged into a widely read dialogue that
others can use against you. Good
Over to the big BookExpo event at
McCormick Place, where we have taken our
usual stand. I meet several foreign
publishers during the day.
This teasing email goes to Bente at 8
am: "Desolate to hear that Jennifer Lopez
has got secretly married, so my whole trip
to the West Coast is
pointless. . .
Tell Jessica [I add]:
In Chicago yesterday morning I ate a
huge muffin; it was in a soggy wrapper,
and dripped onto my fingers and lap,
there was so much fat in it.
So: muffins means pudge.
By road I carry on via Detroit and
Cleveland to Niagara Falls. I walk over to
the Falls and take some pictures.
This typewriter's keyboard is now in a
parlous state. The space-bar, of all keys,
isn't working. Reminds me of when I was
writing about Field Marshal Rommel, and
the "m" was defective. No space-bar is
Work all evening, while keeping an eye
on the televised state funeral for
Ronald Reagan; very moving, and
Nancy appears genuinely grief stricken at
the end, prostrating herself across the
coffin and weeping. A great way to go, if
you gotta go.
Reagen with his Little
THE USUAL on-tour PsyWar starts. At
9:09 am a blank call comes in from Ontario
-- 705 444 2237; then another call,
immediately, from unidentified, a man says
"Bingo" and hangs up. I call the 705
number back, after ten rings a machine
says "Lisa and Roy are not in." Evidently
Lisa and Roy aren't very bright. I leave a
message that I have noted their name and
I realise during the night that I
haven't sent out invitation letters for
Baltimore and Washington. Hopeless. A
heavy morning's work ahead.
I get all the letters posted by midday,
and set out east for New Hampshire. A long
drive all day, along the tollroad thruway,
then through mountain lanes of small-town
America. Very picturesque. Arrive at
Up at seven-thirty am, and send this to
Bente about our imminent move. "Make sure
you rescue all sheets and towels which are
ours, God knows few enough after the Duke
To Michael Piper, who will speak at
Cincinnati on Willis Carto (my own
Please make necessary travel
arrangements for Labor Day weekend. We
would prefer you to speak Sunday or Monday
, as Saturday is reserved for speakers
needing technical equipment.
Let me emphasise that the talk is to
concentrate on Willis and his
achievements; it can deal with The Edison
Bequest, but 'dirty laundry'
. . . should be left
I spend the afternoon with Joe C.
driving round Cambridge, Massachusetts,
looking for a new keyboard. A scramble
then to get the books up to the third
floor for the Harvard meeting.
Our former French au pair Catherine d'A.
turns up. I haven't seen her for 35 years.
A little meal afterwards with her in a
street cafe; She has weathered well,
though the bloom has gone. Her Fronch
accent is still atrocious, and I suspect
she lays it on deliberately thick for the
I tell her of all the things since she
came and went. She has been through two
husbands, and had four sons. An enjoyable
evening of reminiscences. I tell her of
Josephine, and of Jessica's smile a few
days ago, the one "which I shall remember
the rest of my life."
Beautiful warm day, in the high
eighties, and tomorrow I shall work in the
university library at Boston Unversity for
Up at 8:05 am CNN televises the 9/11
Commission, we hear the voice of Mohammed
Atta and others. A small pursuit plane
reports seeing "black smoke" from Flight
UA93 over Pennsylvania; questioned by the
controller, "Smoke from the plane or from
the ground," the pilot replies, "From the
The Boston University special
collection is now rightly called the
Howard Gotlieb Archival & Research
Center. It is his creation. I spend the
day reading the Cecil King diaries. At one
pm Dr Gotlieb arrives and invites me into
his office. He is gracious about my having
led them to the Tyler Kent papers, which
they have recently augmented.
Just as for the last twenty years, I
resume work reading the Cecil King
diaries, the last six months of 1943, in
Bente phones after an hour -- the
removal men want £350 to take the
sofas down to Wiltshire; I say that's
scandalous, we could post them cheaper by
I ARRIVE at the New Jersey speaking
location at 5:25 pm, very late, and finish
setting up as the first guests arrive. A
nice crowd, around ninety, with a father
bringing his two offspring, 17 year old
Erinn, very cute, and her brother
I take Erinn aside and warn her quietly
not to take these things too seriously,
and to keep to herself her own revisionist
views, if she has any, at school if she
wants any future.
The young man who introduces me is
rather carried away by the standing
ovation at the end of my speech; he
produces a wad of typescript papers from
his pocket and delivers "for a few
minutes" a half hour oration on
organisation, etc., during which I see my
post-speech book sales visibly melting
Manhattan next. I depart for New York
City around midday. I get a shoe-shine --
the black Church's shoes have never looked
better. Good audience. The first address
is by Kenneth Love, an ancient, deaf, but
highly interesting former New York Times
Back at Pompton Lakes around midnight,
drenched in sweat from unloading and
loading half a ton of boxes, as usual.
This email reports to Bente:
Tomorrow afternoon the
location is a private home in
Baltimore, around 350 miles south of
here, and then Monday evening a big
dinner in Washington.
After that a week working in the
archives, thank goodness. Am getting
very tired, and old. Had a cafe con
leche in Mambi's -- a dirty and
bustling Dominican cafe in the shadow
of the George Washington Bridge that
goes across the Hudson; really cute
Latin girls working there, all bust and
bottom. Dominicans, I think.
But, do they have attitude!
There is a horrendous traffic jam just
after the Delaware Memorial Bridge, and it
takes ages to roll five miles to the toll
plaza. I comment on this to the woman in
the booth, saying "forty-five minutes to
pay two bucks!"; she snarls "a**hole" at
me, before I can move on, chastened.
On the other side of I--95 I see
another inexplicable jam of four lanes of
traffic backed up for ten or fifteen
miles, caused so far as I could see by a
lone car broken down in the slow lane,
with a man standing next to it importantly
holding everybody up! Welcome to Sunday,
have a nice America.
My host in Washington, DC, is Ned, a
government employee. He is a film buff. I
ask him about the precise Humphrey Bogart
quote from Casablanca, "Of all the
places. . ." as I use it in my
talk (about how soon-to-be-beheaded Nick
Berg ran into that friend of Zacharia
Moussaoui in a bus in the Oklahoma desert
and let him use his laptop,
I dream I have reached the opening of
Cincinnati and realize I have invited no
speakers. How to fudge round that!
Up at eight. Under the door Ned has
pushed a slip of paper: "Of all the gin
joints in all the towns in all the world,
she walks into mine." -- Rick Blaine
(Humphrey Bogart) after Ilsa
László (Ingrid Bergman)
comes into Rick's in Casablanca.
I am now about 3,000 miles out from
Chicago, according to the meter, and still
only one third of the way round the
Bente phones. Landlord is allowing us
to keep our sofas in the new flat and he
will remove their tatty ones.
Paul M., my lawyer, emails
Mishcon de Reya have written
to advise that Lipstadt wishes to
withdraw her application.
The contentious issue is whether she
should be liable for the gratuitous
costs consequent upon her
I reply: "By her intervention she has
caused serious legal costs to be inflicted
on me. In addition, she has caused the
hearing of my application against the
Trustee to be delayed, with further injury
"We always regarded her intervention as
frivolous. She has a literary income in
England, and if we are granted an Order,
we can garnish that: Irving vs. Penguin
Books -- it has a familiar ring.
Ned invites us to dinner. I scoff a
22-ounce steak, tell the waitress, "My
compliments to Mr Porterhouse."
At the National Archives building in
Maryland I find references to a diary of
John J. McCloy, a wartime secretary of
archivist John Taylor walks in,
more bent than ever; his memory has sagged
a bit since we last met, names being the
first casualties in the battle against
time. He is delighted to see me and we
chat about many things; Anthony Cave
Brown is still around, he was on the
phone last week but Brown "could not come
in" -- probably too fat to get into a car.
I last saw Brown when I invited him to
dinner with Carla Venchiarutti
(assistant, below) in K Street in
I inquire after the
files," which I first asked for
thirty-five years ago when I began
researching the Churchill biography; they
are now open, he concedes, and he produces
the catalogue information.
His brain is a human file-cabinet,
complete with index cards. I comment on
his lively good health, and he volunteers
that he has never drunk a coffee in his
life -- then corrects himself, he did once
drink a cup in an airplane over the Grand
Canyon, and disliked it. "Probably
Instant," I volunteer.
We chat about old friends Ladislas
Farago, dead these many years; and Dr
Robert Wolfe (retired ten years
ago). "Mendelssohn?" -- "Long
dead," and so it goes on. He knows all
about the Robert Kempner files
found by Walt Martin in Philadelphia,
and asks about the status of the Robert
I say I went to see his family in
Albuquerque in December.
Smiling, I guess his age at
eighty-three; he says, "Spot on!" He comes
in at six each morning, then has breakfast
in the canteen and works a full day.
What a man. He recalls bumping into me
coming into the archives building in
Pennsylvania Avenue many years ago with "a
good looking blond on my arm." I told him
that I had had "a life of crime" in
writing. The quote rings true, not the
He throws out many clues about new
files now available: nine million pages
from the CIA are coming in at the rate of
a million a month on CD-Rom. The library,
he sniffs, keeps regular hours, closes at
five pm. The MID files, indexed on
microfilm M.1194, contain FBI materials on
Churchill from between the wars.
Today I must send emails and letters of
infitation to my Wilmington, North
At the coin laundry in the condominium,
I screw up some yappy woman's things --
the machine has halted "unbalanced," so I
unload it. The shrew takes my last four
quarters off me to repeat her own washing
load, then yaps at me all over again.
A quiet day of paperwork. I phone
London and dictate directions to Jessica
for moving the DSL line. She explains that
there's no point talking with Mummy, as
"she's a technophobe."
I post letters to Florida, and drive
all day to North Carolina.
ON TO Atlanta for supper afterwards,
then on again at ten-thirty pm, heading
At Louisville, I chat with Saleh, the
Iraqi restaurant owner, for some time
after my talk about the tragedy of his
country, and leave around 11:35 pm. I
check into a hotel somewhere after
Louisville, with three hundred miles left
to drive to St Louis, or rather more than
At St Louis (with helper, above)
a very good audience has turned up despite
the sweltering heat, around a hundred, and
book signings are good. I'm on the road at
I find a lone hotel around one am; the
now usual Asian-run fleapit. "Does the
room have a phone?" "Oh yes Sir." "Does
the phone work?" "Oh yes Sir." "Is it
switched on?" "Oh yes Sir." -- The phone
is however a cheap Panasonic extension
phone, and it is impossible to run a
computer. I can not go online. Bed around
* * *
That ends the eastern tour circuit. I
take off at nine-thirty am, Chicago time,
and land at Tampa in Central Florida.
I now detect that credit cards, ID's,
driver licence, etc., are all missing --
stolen or lost. I phone Bente to cancel
the UK card; I never use it, but it is
needed. After speaking in Tampa, I drive
on, stopping at hotels and motels all the
way down to West Palm Beach, looking for
acceptable accommodation. Asians
everywhere. They get black looks from
IT IS the first time I have travelled
Florida 80, the Palm Beach Highway from
west to east.
It is almost empty of traffic, and most
picturesque, flanked by endless ranches,
fields of citrus trees, and sugar
A huge storm-cell brews over to the
north, with a mile-wide cylinder of
torrential rain linking low, menacing,
black-bellied clouds with the Everglades
below. Multiple lightning flashes
periodically streak to the ground. What a
spectacle to watch in the evening
I have a lot of trouble downloading my
messages; the connection also refuses to
work from the Hilton at WPB. I finally get
it fixed, download 300 messages, deal with
them, and topple into bed at 2:15 am.
I set up in the hotel's Areca Room. The
room fills to capacity including several
youngsters, one wearing a Der Stürmer
tee-shirt, which does not please. An
extreme US organisation called Stormfront
has gratuitously announced the location of
my talks on its website.
That is precisely what lost us the
Seattle location last December.
Annette G. sends me the remaining
illustrations. What style Mother had as an
illustrator! One of the greats.
The long drive is almost over. I phone
Jessica from Florida City, and
congratulate her on coming second in
swimming, as Bente told me two days ago. I
joke, "I presume there were more than two
swimmers?" She says, "Three!" chuckles,
then confesses, "Four, actually." What fun
Benté says she saw a mouse in
the kitchen this morning. Screamed and
screamed and screamed. I say: "The mouse?
Screamed?" She is not amused.
Key West. Bente phones happily
for ten minutes from London.
Jessica, it seems, has brought home an
excellent school report; it abounds with
honeyed words and phrases like "an
auspicious start," "courtesy,"
"popularity," "brightness," "motivation,"
and "eagerness to learn."
The child herself is unimpressed, but
that's standard for all children; she
knows she's okay, and that's good enough
for her. But for us, her parents, it's
real music, a symphony, to our
dossier on the origins of
Index to this
on Richard "Skunky" Evans