[first published at dovegreyreader scribbles]
Having flown in a plane the size of an Airfix kit, (I swear I could see the glue on the propellors) it was quite a relief to land in Edinburgh from Orkney on Thursday, and the Tinker and I were pleased to have two hours to recover while we waited for our connecting flight to Manchester (in a slightly bigger Airfix kit) and thence to Exeter. Virgin very kindly supply free airport wi-fi, so it was out with the iPad and a quick catch up with the world.
Writer and knitter extraordinaire Adele Geras and I have been in regular email contact in recent months as her husband Norm took on the mighty beast that is cancer, and I knew that Norm's time left with us was limited, but still how sad I was to read a message from Adele, taking a break from the hospital, to let me know that it wouldn't be long now. There is nothing like news of that calibre to focus the thinking as we then took to the skies, rose up through and above the clouds, feeling very small as we caught glimpses of the earth below, deciding that this must have been Cumbria… maybe…
Holding Adele and Norm and their daughters Sophie Hannah and Jenny in my thoughts wasn't hard, they have all been there a great deal in recent weeks, and readily so as we headed back to Devon, full of the spirit of Orkney. Whoever or wherever your 'God', Orkney is very much a Nearer My God to Thee sort of place, as in it speaks to your soul… and Norm would doubtless have had something very sensible, kind and polite to say about that ethereal thinking of mine.
And then to read the sad news the next day of Norm's death at the age of 70 in the early hours of Friday morning.
Author and politics professor was best known for influential ‘Normblog’, which he used to voice opinion on invasion of Iraq
[first published in the Guardian]
Norman Geras disclosed to readers of his blog that he had been diagnosed with prostate cancer at the beginning of 2003. Photograph: Graeme Robertson
The political writer Norman Geras has died, his daughter said on Friday.
Geras, 70, professor emeritus in politics at the University of Manchester and author of eight books, was one of the first writers to embrace the web, launching Normblog, which went on to become one of the most influential left-of-centre blogs in Britain, in July 2003. In May, he used his blog to disclose to readers that he had prostate cancer, which was first diagnosed at the beginning of 2003 but had spread.
His daughter, Jenny Geras, wrote on Normblog on Friday: “I am very sad to announce that Norm died in Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge in the early hours of this morning. Writing this blog, and communicating with all his readers, has brought him an enormous amount of pleasure in the last ten years.
“I know that since writing here about his illness earlier in the year he received a lot of support from many of you, and that has meant a great deal to him, and to us, his family.”
I am very sad to announce that Norm died in Addenbrooke's hospital in Cambridge in the early hours of this morning. Writing this blog, and communicating with all his readers, has brought him an enormous amount of pleasure in the last ten years. I know that since writing here about his illness earlier in the year he received a lot of support from many of you, and that has meant a great deal to him, and to us, his family. The blog and all its archives will remain online.
Jenny Geras (Norm's daughter), 18 October 2013
[first published on the John’s blog]
The blogging world is a lesser place tonight. Prolific political blogger, Norman Geras, Manchester University Politics Professor has died.
I once heard him speak at a Euston Manifesto conference during which he described the SWP (Socialist Workers Party) as not socialists because they don’t believe in democracy, not workers since they are middle class and not a party but a cult. I never spoke to him, but I have long admired his numerous clever and insightful posts on “Normblog“.