Saturday, 14 November 2015

Days that go down in history

Lewis Carroll’s diary entry for 13 November 1862 includes the line: ‘Began writing the fairy-tale of Alice. I hope to finish it by Christmas.’ That seemed a reasonably auspicious anniversary on which to write my first blog post, given that I hope to see my book on sale before Christmas.

Not that my first blog post will disturb anyone’s historical perspective, but I found another rather neat anniversary. November 13th in 1907 was the day of the first ever helicopter flight by a man called Paul Cornu.

But then today became a dreadful anniversary all of its own. Terrible attacks in Paris on people out in theatres, restaurants... bombs, gunfire. Many dead, many injured, and still going on as I write. The world caught in a mad cycle of revenge and killing.

And even if today’s events hadn’t left my Carroll and Cornu anniversaries out on a limb, today became tomorrow as it always will, and my well-timed blog post has missed its mark.

I can only be thankful that that’s the sum total of my own personal woes. This is a time for counting blessings and thinking of others. And as it happens, November 14th is also the anniversary of an aviation first. On this day in 1910 a guy called Eugene Burton Ely made the first successful take off of a plane from the deck of a ship.

And so, as my new publisher would say, and as I am learning to say, Onwards, Commanders!

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