January 25, 1935 — January 25, 2017

Yes, it is my birthday today. The arithmetic is certainly correct — 82, but emotionally I find it hard to believe. That is 29,950 odd days..with the 20 extra days for leap years included. If I have eaten just a pound of food each day, that amounts to 13.4 tons. And think of the number of times I have emptierd my bowels…or how many gallons of liquid I have consumed. It is all rather terrifying to think about. And think of the huge changes over those 82 years — Hitler, Stalin, the Holocaust, the atomic bombs, jet planes, computers, the Internet, mobile phones, men on the moon..the list of technological and political changes is breathtaking. At the age of five or six, I was spending nights sleeping in an air-raid shelter in our garden in Plymouth while the German bombers streamed overhead to destroy the city centre, missing the important naval dockyard. I saw my school set alight by incendiary bombs. I served two years National Service in the Royal Navy, travelling all round the Indian Ocean. Three years at Oxford. Went to work for the IMF in Washington DC. First marraige to a German girl, with two children — one of which — Juliet — was killed in a car crash at eighteen years of age. Second marriage to a Greek….founded the American Hellenophobe Society. Another child, a son. Broke up and found my best partner, with whom I have now spent twenty happy and adventurous years. And this is written in Sydney Australia, where we are visiting for the third time.

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