At last. I'm back to feeling like myself again. I can eat, drink hot tea, swallow and speak without pain. And I never want to go there again. One of my regular (and witty) commenters suggested that my affliction sounded like "Blue Tongue", which I haven't looked up yet, but I will. Whatever it might be, it can't be more disgusting than my tongue was. I'm still not showing it to anyone, but the improvement is quite dramatic.
Now of course, I've got a lot to catch up with. I haven't visited any of my favourite Blogs, and I expect some of my Blogging buddies will think I've dropped off my perch. Not quite yet. I have listened to a lot of radio and read a lot of books, inbetween sleeping and moaning (with pain I hasten to add, not complaining). One of the interesting things on the radio has been the 1968 "Day by Day" news, which reminds us of what was happening 40 years ago. 1968 really does seem to have been a watershed year. I particularly remembered that on 21st August 1968, when the Russian tanks invaded Czechoslovakia, I went out and bought my first ever copy of The Times, because I wanted to know the truth about what was happening. This seems a trifle naive to me now, but back then I believed that The Times would give me a fair and balanced view of events in Prague. And I believe it did just that. Poor Dubcek - he was, in the commentator's words, "Too nice". He believed and trusted the Russians who, as it turned out, had been planning the invasion for months because they didn't trust Dubcek to get the country "under control". Dubcek was a decent man, and genuinely didn't realize that "Communism with a human face is not possible." It was a tragic misunderstanding, and a dramatic and exciting time for those of us who were observing - but it must have been terrible for all those Czech people who believed that they were about to be freed. The 'with hindsight' view was that it was a "successful invasion, but a political disaster". The 1968 uprising was about Idealism and National Unity, but November 1989 was different - they no longer wanted Socialism with a human face, they simply wanted their Freedom.
Of course, I have a Foreign Student here from the Czech Republic. He is 19 and knows nothing of those days. Even his parents, who are both 43, remember nothing. Yet they are all children of that Revolution, and now live normal, untroubed lives in relative freedom - thanks to all those who suffered and died, who protested and were imprisoned. They know nothing of the people of Prague who had no guns, but who stood in front of the Russian tanks and pleaded with the soldiers to leave them to their hard-won independence. They were truly heroic and I remember still the black and white photos of those people in Prague, dwarfed by the Russian tanks, but not defeated. It was impressive then, and it is still moving now.