… is the bicentenary of the birth of Hans Christian Andersen.
How I wish my friend Elias, who wrote the definitive biography, had lived to see the day. He died in August 2002, a few days before my Sue, who was mad about him, as were my kids. Elias had been in the Danish Resistance during the war and had known both Leon Trotsky and Bertrand Russell. My children loved him because he was tall and elegant and courteous in an old-world way, and they recognised immediately that he was, in some way, genuinely distinguished. To this day, every time we pass his Cambridge College — Peterhouse — they sing out “Elias’s college!”