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No. 26, August 1, 2004

[German translation]  

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continued, part 3



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 marching."

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 the dossier I posted with pictures on the Web.

John Irving at deskYour 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 identity.


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 high explosive.

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.

Aftab 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 post it on our website.

Up at 7:55 am to take Jessica to school, then revert to bed for a while.

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 folks.


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 case.

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 them.

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 windows.

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 ago.

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 right.

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 shelves, etc.


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.

Goocivilian contractord 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 then.

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 essay.

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 problems."

The moment I give them the details they will frighten off the location. The police are often the problem, not the solution.

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 elections."

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 Lipstadt case.

I reply:

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 him up.


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 really).


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 with Jessica.

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 blame.

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 recommended you."

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 luck."


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 worse.

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.


President Reagen with his Little Helpers

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 number.

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 9:15pm.

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 Street disaster."

To Michael Piper, who will speak at Cincinnati on Willis Carto (my own idea):

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 unwashed.

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 Americans.

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 a day.

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 plane."

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 seven hours.

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 mail.


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 Derek.

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 away.

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 journalist.

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, allegedly).

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 circuit.

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 unexpectedly:

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 intervention.

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 to me.

"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 defence.

TaylorThen 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 1976.Carla Venchiarutti

I inquire after the "PRIME-POTUS 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 Gutierrez trove; 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 other bit..

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 Carolina, list.

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 for Chattanooga.

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 I expected.

St Louis, with helper

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 11:30 pm.

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 two-thirty am.


*  *  *


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 me.


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 plantations.

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 twilight.

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 Dawnchild 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 she is.

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 ears.



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