May I say that since I have been away there have been a multitude of fine guest posters on here who have maintained the site brilliantly. Ashok Karra writes fascinatingly here as he does at his own blog. Matt Sinclair was wonderful as well. James Higham furnished us with musings about Dr Crippin and the state of modern Russia. James Hamilton was as usual a stalwart full of good sense. Vino did what Vino always does brilliantly- give glimpses into the politics of other countries. I'm back now and will post for about a week at which point I'm off to Norway for a week so may ask some others to do some guest posting and though any of these fine gentlemen are welcome to post as well again should they wish to. But I have been stunned by both the quality and quantity of postings- I have a lot to live up to- thanks all round are due- and any of these gentlemen should they be in south London and in need of refreshment need only ask and Gracchi will be present to buy them a drink!