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  • THE IRON LADY AT 84

    Further to yesterday's post, Lady Thatcher is now 84 and becoming rather frail.

    Here she is, pictured at 10 Downing Street this week after unveiling a new portrait of herself. The Prime Minister helps her safely down the steps.

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    And here she is, standing by her portrait, which was painted by Royal artist Richard Stone.

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    Would this country be a better place if Margaret Thatcher was still in charge? And what is her legacy?

    To her supporters, Margaret Thatcher remains a revolutionary figure who revitalised Britain's economy, impacted the trade unions, and re-established the nation as a world power.

    But she was also a controversial figure, her premiership was marked by high unemployment and social unrest and many critics fault her economic policies for the unemployment level.

    Yet speaking in Scotland in April 2009, before the 30th anniversary of her election as prime minister, Thatcher declared: "I regret nothing," and insisted she "was right to introduce the poll tax and to close loss-making industries to end the country's 'dependency culture'.

    Here are a few comments from readers of today's Daily Mail:

    Bring her back.Has anyone ever noticed that all labour-ites blame "THATCHER" for the present state of our country and society ?The assassins who ousted her must rue the day when they did it.
    - Roger, Sheffield, 24/11/2009 08:20

    And lest we forget, it was not us. the electorate, who deprived the nation of its best post war leader! It was her own party, running scared of the pro EU forces in society, such as the BBC and others from the liberal establishment!
    - Peter North, Sutton, Surrey, 24/11/2009 08:14

    Every time I see that woman's face, I feel ill.
    The damage her and the Tory party done to Great Britain is incomparable, even by Nulabour standards.
    - John Norton, Norfolk, 24/11/2009 08:04

    Whatever your views on Margaret Thatcher she certainly had the guts to govern this country. You didn't hear of her having tantrums, throwing things about in Downing Street.

    The portrait depicts her well, I would be pleased with it.
    - a citizen, Once, Great Britain, 24/11/2009 07:53

    Margaret Thatcher was the best Prime Minister I have seen by far during my lifetime (I am 53). Nobody has even come close to her since. She even had journalists trembling in front of her she was so forthright and switched on. I despair at all those that have followed since. Long live Maggie you are sorely missed. A truly remarkable leader.
    - Andrew, Wellingborough, UK, 24/11/2009 07:38

    A great,great Lady,how we do need her now.
    - Colleen, England, 24/11/2009 07:36

    What is your assessment?

  • WE ARE A GRANDMOTHER

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    Today's poem on http://poemsandprose.blog.co.uk/ started me thinking about nosism - the use of the word 'we' in referring to oneself.

    One of the most famous occasions was when, in 1989, on the birth of a child to her son Mark, Margaret Thatcher announced to the press "We are a grandmother."

    The 'royal we" (Pluralis Majestatis) is often employed by a person of high office, such as a monarch, earl or pope.

    Another example of its use was when Queen Victoria was reputed to have said "We are not amused!'

    There are several theories of what could have provoked her comment, but I particularly like this one:

    'It is said to have been inspired by the Hon. Alexander Grantham (Alick) Yorke, one of her grooms-in-waiting. (A relative described him as an "elderly pansy.")

    The job of a groom-in-waiting, or anyway Alick's job, was to hang around the castle and be funny.

    On one of Alick's not-so-funny days, some say, he told a risque story to a German guest ("Gab es ein junger Mann von Nantucket ..."), who laughed loudly, moving the queen to ask that the story be repeated.

    It was, and she wasn't. Amused, I mean. She was not using the royal "we," though, but rather was speaking for the affronted ladies of the court."

    Nosism is also used in certain formal contexts by bishops and university rectors.

    The expression was first used in 1169 when English King Henry II, hard pressed by his barons over the investiture controversy, assumed the common theory of "divine right of kings," that the monarch acted conjointly with the deity. Hence, he used "we" as "God and I...".

  • IMPORTANT NOTICE

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    REVISED SCHEDULE

    I now have SIX blogs on the Internet and I am beginning find them a struggle to manage on a regular daily basis.

    They are taking too much of my time away from other interests, so I have decided to cut down the frequency of posts.

    My two personal favourites are http://poemsandprose.blog.co.uk/ and http://picturepost.blog.co.uk/ and they will continue on 5 days of the week, Monday to Friday.

    The others will appear less frequently, as I find interesting things to add.

    There will be no posts on any of the blogs at weekends.

    I am extremely grateful to the small group of loyal followers who have added brilliant, witty and relevant comments over the past few years.

    Please continue to do so.

    Time is precious for us all and my re-scheduling may help you as well as me.

    Thank you all for your continued support.

    Colin (kendrive)

  • TREAD SOFTLY

    Continuing the theme of "Dreams", here is one of W.B. Yeats's most well-known and beautiful poems.

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    CLOTHS OF HEAVEN

    Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
    Enwrought with golden and silver light,
    The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
    Of night and light and the half-light,
    I would spread the cloths under your feet:
    But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
    I have spread my dreams under your feet;
    Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

    William Butler Yeats

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lmKjZX3A-ow

    Note: The speaker of the poem is the character Aedh, who appears in Yeats's work alongside two other archetypal characters of the poet's myth, Michael Robartes and Red Hanrahan.

    The three are collectively known as the principles of the mind. Whereas Robartes is intellectually powerful and Hanrahan represents Romantic primitivism, Aedh is pale, lovelorn, and in the thrall of La belle dame sans merci.(The character 'Aedh' is replaced in volumes of Yeats's collected poetry by a more generic 'he.')

    Wikipedia

  • THE SLAVE'S DREAM

    I do not usually post long poems to my blogs, but I will make an exception in the case of Longfellow, as that is his style.

    I was quite enjoying reading this poem, until I came to the last verse.

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    THE SLAVE'S DREAM

    Beside the ungathered rice he lay,
    His sickle in his hand;
    His breast was bare, his matted hair
    Was buried in the sand.
    Again, in the mist and shadow of sleep,
    He saw his Native Land.

    Wide through the landscape of his dreams
    The lordly Niger flowed;
    Beneath the palm-trees on the plain
    Once more a king he strode;
    And heard the tinkling caravans
    Descend the mountain-road.

    He saw once more his dark-eyed queen
    Among her children stand;
    They clasped his neck, they kissed his cheeks,
    They held him by the hand! -
    A tear burst from the sleeper's lids
    And fell into the sand.

    And then at furious speed he rode
    Along the Niger's bank;
    His bridle-reins were golden chains,
    And, with a martial clank,
    At each leap he could feel his scabbard of steel
    Smiting his stallion's flank.

    Before him, like a blood-red flag,
    The bright flamingoes flew;
    From morn till night he followed their flight,
    O'er plains where the tamarind grew,
    Till he saw the roofs of Caffre huts,
    And the ocean rose to view.

    At night he heard the lion roar,
    And the hyena scream,
    And the river-horse, as he crushed the reeds
    Beside some hidden stream;
    And it passed, like a glorious roll of drums,
    Through the triumph of his dream.

    The forests, with their myriad tongues,
    Shouted of liberty;
    And the Blast of the Desert cried aloud,
    With a voice so wild and free,
    That he started in his sleep and smiled
    At their tempestuous glee.

    He did not feel the driver's whip
    Nor the burning heat of day;
    For Death had illumined the Land of Sleep,
    And his lifeless body lay
    A worn-out fetter, that the soul
    Had broken and thrown away!

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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