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Next Issue Peter Scupham at 85: a celebration Contributions by Anne Stevenson, Robert Wells, Peter Davidson, Lawrence Sail

This article is taken from PN Review 61, Volume 14 Number 5, May - June 1988.

Crash Landing John Ashbrook

We were setting out to fly to America, my little family and I.

For months we'd been looking forward to the historic flight. We had worked hard all our lives, preserved our marriage, been faithful, and loyal; scrimped and saved to give our children a decent start in life - in such vivid contrast to our own struggles. Our only worry was that our son might let us down. He claimed he'd been fully occupied with examinations and had, I feared, failed to make adequate preparations.

Take-off was perfect. We had unfortunately been unable to gain sponsorship or publicity but at least this gave us the advantage of not having enormous crowds to hinder us, to cheer us on our way. And I knew that when we reached the other side President Reagan would be sure to be there to greet us - a man of marvellous simplicity of mind.

Soon London was behind us, beneath us the green of England. The first hundred miles or so were distinctly easy with a brisk following wind. But as we reached the verdant coast of Ireland, Roger suddenly looked down and said he was tired. We discussed the matter in flight for some time. I was angry. I despised him for his lack of preparation. He said his arms were already coming out of their sockets.

- Let them come, I said, Let them come.

Laura gave me a sly dig. ...


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