Wolves of Water index
Meet our sponsor Here's what he says about her, Busby and the book.
Here's what he says about her, Busby and the book.
Since 1992 I have lived through the whole campaign Busby describes in Wolves of Water, sharing the battles and the emotional swings. I feel that his account is an extremely important contribution in the long history of the Science War. I can sympathise with his reluctance to make an index after seven years of effort to get it all written down, but it's a tragic deficiency because it reduces the book's usefulness to the people who'll come to this battlefield (or other similar battlefields) after us. So I did this. I didn't ask for Busby's approval; he doesn't altogether approve — Haven't you got anything more important to do? he asked. Who knows?Busby's big mistakeI have looked out for mistakes Busby might have made. The very few I found are in the Errata. However, Busby made one substantial omission — one person (at least one) who doesn't appear in the book at all, despite her long and crucial contribution to the campaign. She's not the exhausted wife who, according to the adage, stands behind every great man; she is an exhausted wife, but mine, not Busby's (and if you read this sentence carefully you'll see I'm not claiming greatness for either him or me). If it weren't for Sally earning most of the money in this household I shouldn't have been able to spend the last 15 years earning damn-all - travelling, reading, writing, attending meetings, designing leaflets, doing mailouts and generally chivvying Busby. And he has often remarked that if it were not for my chivvying he probably wouldn't have persevered. Sally has supported and enabled the whole enterprise with endless patience and generosity and in too many ways to list, though I will say that they include her expertise as a mathematician and statistician.
When Sally and I were courting in the 1960s I used to have robust arguments with her father, Alan Shillito, a career civil servant who by then was a permanent under-secretary at the Admiralty. We talked about many issues. Although at the time I was neither politically active nor environmentally concerned (that took another 20-odd years to emerge) we discussed nuclear power one Sunday lunchtime. I have just a snapshot memory of saying to him How can you defend an industry that doesn't have a solution for its wastes? Now Alan deeply distrusted novelty and change and, though highly intelligent, he was defeated by the most elementary technologies. So his answer still surprises me 40 years later; he said The scientists will find a way. They haven't found a way, unless we count the myriad cover-up techniques and stratagems Busby has described.
So I'm thankful that civil service mentality isn't altogether hereditary and I dedicate this index to Sally Bramhall, née Shillito. By association I also dedicate it to all the other unsung enablers without whom no campaign would make progress.
Wolves of Water includes a poem called On the Beach. Busby wrote it in New Brighton while on a speaking tour of New Zealand and surely he named it for Neville Shute's nuclear holocaust novel (I see Amazon refers to it as prophetic). So on a whim I rummaged through the photo albums for these pictures of Sally on the beach in the old Brighton when she was at nearby Sussex University, not long after it earned its reputation as a hothouse of red-paint-throwing radicals.
Sorry about the photography - cheap camera and grainy film, processed in the bathroom. At the top of the page she's wearing her Granny's old fur coat before it fell to bits and was turned into soft toys. This was in 1967 and behind her is the West Pier - now a fire-stripped skeleton. The photo on the right was at Littlehampton a few miles away on a summer day in 1968. We went there with the people she shared a student house with in Montpelier Street. Or maybe it was 1969, which would mean she was living at 11 Roundhill Crescent.
Richard Bramhall March 2007
Any mistakes in the Index are mine and since the index is an online publication it can be amended. I hope people will email comments to me at email@example.com
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