Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo turned on the car radio this morning only to catch the tail end of a nooz story about Baroness Thatcher.  While I didn’t get the lede, from the insistent use of the past tense and key words like “legacy”, he figured that he knew what had happened.  Checking the headlines just now, I see that my surmise was correct.

Since this is my blog (which is mine), I will go ahead and tell my own Margaret Thatcher story even though (for once) I am perfectly cognizant that I have told it here before.  Those of you who remember are invited to fill your glasses and tune out for a while if you like.  I’ll understand.

Anyhoo, I took a year off between college and law school in order to sort things out a bit about just exactly where I wanted to go in life.  (I never did answer that question, by the bye.  And if you’d told me then where I am now, I’d have been gob-smacked.)

Owing to the rayther generous portion of Fool’s Luck which a benevolent Deity seems to have bestowed on me, I found myself in the position shortly before graduation of knowing a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend who had a friend who was trying to set up an internship liaison program between my school and Parliament, and somehow managed to wangle for myself the role of inaugural guinea-pig in said program.  The result was that I worked as a research assistant to an MP from June 1987 to June 1988, in the midst of Thatcher’s turn as Prime Minister.  (He was a New Labour man from Yorkshire.  Therein lie several other tales.)

Among the other treats attached to slouching about Westminster (I’m reasonably sure that using O-fficial Parliamentary stationary for the cover letters to my law school applications is what did the trick for getting me in), every now and again I was able to snag a ticket to the visitors’ gallery for Prime Minister’s Question Time and watch the Iron Lady do her stuff.  (Just as an aside, we really ought to have something like that here, forcing the President to come over to Congress every so often to defend himself.  It would be most entertaining.)  I must say that she was every bit as forceful a character as she’s described.   I still recall distinctly one incident in which Neil Kinnock, then leader of the Labour Party, tried to get snide with her about some policy or other.  She took his snark and whipped it right back at him like an assegai, pinning him to his seat.   Almost literally.  The man’s eyes bulged, his jaw dropped and he was rendered utterly speechless.

On the other hand, she passed me in the hall one time (it’s a very small and collegial community) and received my obviously goofy look of goggly admiration with a warm, modest smile.

Rest in peace.

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