Tuesday, March 17, 2009


The lovely weather continues. I have a care-giver come five days a week, thrice to shower me, twice to walk or exercise me. Today was a walk. At the end of our lane, we are the last of seven units, there is a shopping complex. We sat in the sun there watching the passing traffic, pedestrian and vehicular. There was a large queue at the bus stop. I reflected on the irony of my situation: I qualify for a gold card - thank you Winston – but cannot use it because I can’t climb the bus steps.

Still reading about World War 2. Eisenhower in exasperation at Churchill’s suggestions of reduced troops in North Africa before Tunisia was finally captured shot back ‘for God’s sake can we finish one job at a time.’ Brooke had to cope with his mercurial master every day. His pen portraits of Churchill’s mannerisms, behaviour and ideas is fascinating. A born counter-puncher and bull-dog. A lover of the theatrical - speaking to the troops in the Carthage ruined ampitheatre. One of the best biographies I’ve read is Roy Jenkins’ life of Churchill. He’d written a life of Gladstone as well. His summary is that they were both great prime Ministers but Churchill was the greatest. The war was his finest hour. Otherwise he would have gone down as a political failure.

Bryant’s explanatory pieces are very one-sided. Of course the British are going to be Eurocentric. Bryant’s own background makes him an advocate for sea-power and thus the Mediterranean theatre – Nelson, Pepys and Wellington are his heroes. Churchill had information on the development of rockets and other new German weapons. The Americans were always going to look both ways, Pacific and Atlantic: and after all they had been attacked first at Pearl Harbour. There were two entirely different strategies being considered. They too must have found Churchill trying.

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