Thursday, August 9, 2012
The Flying Scotsman
Stressful flight to Chengdu: argy-bargy at check-in, flight delayed by over two hours and sat next-but-one to a strange guy who brought his own meal with him and ate it during take off. Still, managed to lose myself in my book and also an article about Eric Liddell, the 400m gold medalist at the 1924 Paris games, immortalised in Chariots of Fire. It's perhaps not so well known that he was born and died in China. Born to Scottish missionaries in Tianjin, he moved to Britain for schooling and not only became a brilliant athlete but also played rugby for Scotland. He gave it all up though, and returned to Tianjin to teach during the turbulent 1930s. He died of a brain tumour aged just 43 in a Japanese internment camp. He was held in great affection by his students, one of whom, a Mr Wang Kaihao, now 86 years old, has just written a book about him.