Posted by Tania Kindersley.
(Picture by Reuters.)
I can't quite believe they did it. I had accepted that there would be a long, painful dragging out of the status quo. Mubarak would surely keep clinging to power with his old, crabbed hands; he would go on dying his hair and making those peculiar speeches. The people would become disillusioned and drift home. A small hard core would stay in the square. Then one day, they would be gone, no one knows where.
And then, just like that, the man left. The people had won.
It seemed quite astounding. I had to read the news story twice. But there they were, shouting and cheering and crying and letting off fireworks.
I know there is realpolitik to consider. I know that it won't all be flowers in people's hair. I know that there will not be a perfect transition to an open democracy. Commentators will start shouting about Islamists, and Israel, and the Muslim Brotherhood. It might get messy, but then freedom is messy.
But just for one day, I'm not going to think about all that. It's not every day that you watch a people liberating themselves. Today I: walked the dogs, looked at the lichen, made my mother and stepfather some soda bread farls, listened to the enchanting Graham Norton on the wireless, went to the shop for floor cleaner, took some photographs. What did the people of Egypt do? Overthrew a dictator.
They did it not with bombs and guns, but with patience and determination. They just kept gathering. They stood strong in the face of thugs on horses and camels, mobs throwing stones and rocks, and the secret police coming to take people away in the night. (Journalists who were also arrested spoke of hearing ghastly screams coming from next door cells.)
Reality will bite, but today is a day of jubilee. How can you not take off all your hats, in awe and wonder, when an entire people sets itself free?
Pictures of the day are of the trees and buds and raindrops.
It was a murky old day, with black skies and wandering cloud, and yet, it had a bleak beauty all its own:
There were sudden, astonishing slashes of colour:
The wonderful viburnum was in full swing:
There were glorious raindrops on the bare branches, sparkling like diamonds:
There were hopeful buds, presaging spring:
There were SNOWDROPS:
The ladyships were in serene, contemplative mood:
(Notice though the cocked left ear. She is uncertain whether she has heard a small mammal rustling in the undergrowth, and is wondering if she should go and chase it.)
I looked at this, and thought of Robert Frost:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep.
My hill today is lost in the mist. There is just a low space where it should be: