Monday, 7 October 2019


It has occurred to me that the results of referendums, held in the United Kingdom (or parts thereof) are not accepted by those espousing the options put forward in the relevant question. This applies, in recent years, evidently to the Scottish Independence referendum of September 2014, and the Brexit referendum of June 2016.

Although SNP leader Alex Salmond declared the result of the Scottish poll to be the answer for a generation, it did not take long for the call for an indyref2 (second independence referendum) to be made by the Scottish National Party - until the present day. They lost by 45% to 55%, but clearly did not accept their loss. It is part of the Scottish psyche to feel hard done by the English (who had nothing to do with the poll) and therefore the SNP will keep going on about another referendum for as long as they are in power, or until they get a poll.

The Brexit referendum is an even clearer case in point. To the present day, three years and four months later, the political spectrum in the UK is still divided up by Leavers (those who wanted the UK to leave the EU) and Remainers (those who did not want to leave the EU). The membership of the EEC and now the EU has been a divisive issue within the (presently) ruling Conservative Party since the UK joined the EEC in 1973. Margaret Thatcher's handbagging of the European Council was legendary if not positively infamous, only serving to outline the UK as the awkward squad within Europe. Why the result of the referendum was not accepted by all involved (in the politics etcetera) is something for scientists in the field to look at. I think a contributory factor was that neither option was clearly defined in the poll. Nobody knew the consequences of Brexit, neither were the (dis)advantages of staying in the EU made very clear. Brexit was going to be negotiated out - well, we all know how well that has gone. To date, within days of leaving the EU, we still don't clearly know what Brexit actually means in practical terms.

The entire process has been a failure of the political system, brought about by internecine warfare within one political party and a failure of the opposition Labour Party to take advantage of this situation. Because Jeremy Corbyn's Labour Party is just as split on the issue of Europe as the Tories are. Corbyn is not prepare to nail his colours to the mast on any issue. For instance, JC was being two-faced about adopting the internationally accepted definition of anti-semitism. And at the time of the Brexit referendum, he did not enthusiastically campaign to remain in the EU, which some were expecting him to do.

Brexit is the worst of both worlds. Heaven only knows what will happen between now and October 31st, when Brexit should happen; and hell only knows what will happen beyond.

Friday, 4 October 2019


October is the month of my blogoversaries. It was 15 years ago that commenced updates on Northern Trip, which I kept for 4 years. It was 11 years ago that AOL decided to pull its blogging service, and delete each and every blog on the journals on October 31st. I have never understood why they could not just keep the blogs, without us being able to update or comment. Sigh. It didn't happen.

In October 2008, I set up Atlantic Lines, which I kept going for a decade. Things change, and during the times on Atlantic Lines, I drifted over to Facebook. Nonetheless, I like to keep a blog to be able to express my thoughts more fully.

In October 2018, I set up this blog A cobbled road, for that precise purpose.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

9/11 - 18 years on

This tribute is published on the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania on 11 September 2001, under the auspices of Project 2996.

Jeffrey Dwayne Collman

Image: Family photograph, via

Source: Aurora Beacon News, Aurora IL 9-23-2001
Jeffrey Dwayne Collman, age 41, of Novato, California, formerly of Yorkville, IL, a flight attendant for American Airlines, died in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York City at 8:45a.m. on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

Jeffrey was a 1977 graduate of Yorkville High School in Yorkville, IL. Jeff was formerly employed, for over 10 years, at All-Steel in Montgomery, IL. He had then worked, for a brief time, at Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, California before attaining his dream of being a flight attendant with American Airlines. Jeffrey loved his job and traveling to other countries around the world. He also loved to play and watch tennis. Jeff was a true people person who enjoyed visiting with and getting to know others. He became a flight attendant in 1997. Two years later, Jeff received the American Professional Flight Attendant Award and was considered a spirited and dedicated flight attendant. He liked to entertain children on his flights, and he was fond of playing tennis and traveling, friends said.

He is survived by his parents, Dwayne and Kay Collman of Yorkville, IL and Beverly Sutton of North Aurora, IL; his close companion, Keith Bradkowski of Novato, Ca; his brothers, Charles Collman of Fort Meyers, FL and Brian Collman of Las Vegas, NV; his sister, Brenda Sorenson of Aurora, IL; his step-brothers, Steve (Linda) Gengler of Yorkville, IL and Chuck (Lakshmi) Gengler of South Orange, NJ; his step-sister, Susan Bohan of California; a god-child, Marlene Wakelin; his half-sisters, Laura Kries of Brooklyn Park, MN, Caroline Sutton of Joliet, IL and Vickie Michel of Aurora, IL; several nieces and nephews, many loving aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Jeffrey will also be missed by 100 other flight attendants.

He is preceded in death by his grandparents and his brother, Mark Allen Collman.
A memorial service was held on Monday, October 1, 2001 at the Immanuel Lutheran Church in Yorkville, IL with Pastor John Leaf officiating.

Father’s thoughts
Dwayne Collman's imagination gets the best of him when he thinks about the final minutes of his son's life on American Airlines Flight 11. He's filled with horror thinking about what the 41-year-old flight attendant from Yorkville went through as terrorists with knives steered the plane into the first World Trade Center tower. Collman knows his son received safety training in flight school, but he doubts it ever could have prepared him for the challenges he would face on the morning of Sept. 11. The grieving father is sure of one thing about his son, though, even if the details about his death are not certain:
"He would have fought like hell."

Jeffrey Collman, an American Airlines flight attendant for five years who grew up in Yorkville, died Tuesday morning when his hijacked plane, destined for Los Angeles, crashed into New York's famous landmark at 8:45 a.m. Though his body has not been recovered, his parents knew he was gone when he didn't call within a few hours after the tragedy. He had sent his stepmother, Kay, an e-mail the night before, telling her he would be flying from Boston to Los Angeles the next morning.

"I knew he was in that accident because every time there was something going on with airplanes, he would call and say, 'Hey, I'm all right,' " said Kay Collman. "So I knew that, when he didn't call, he was on that plane."

His parents [...] say Jeffrey Collman wanted to be a flight attendant because he loved to travel and meet people around the world. After working for years at Allsteel in Montgomery, he moved to California about five years ago to pursue that dream. Lifelong friend Dolores Humphrey, who went to school with Jeffrey Collman at all grade levels in Yorkville, said she feared he was killed when she heard the news because he often flew early-week flights from Boston to Los Angeles.
She said Collman never lost contact with his friends, even though his job took him around the world.

"Every time he got into town, he would call anyone he knew to meet for breakfast," said Humphrey, who last talked to Collman [5 days before 9/11]. "He would talk for a couple hours, then have to go fly somewhere else."

His stepmother said Jeffrey was the type of person who could "sit down next to someone on a plane and walk away knowing their life story." His father said Jeffrey loved tennis and flew around the world to watch professionals play. Kay Collman says her stepson never went anywhere meekly, and he loved his job so much that she's sure he didn't back down in the face of terror. "He took it seriously," she said, "and he would not have let anyone walk on him."

Humphrey said Jeffrey talked of flying even when he was a child, and his dream came true when American Airlines gave him a job. He was never afraid to fly, she said, always asserting that he was safer in the air than anyone on the ground. Collman's parents have begun to realize how their son died, and that he will always be remembered as a victim on one of the saddest days ever in the United States.

"It's completely different than just someone dying," Kay Collman said. "We'll have the pictures forever. We'll always see where he died. It's part of history."

Seattle Times, 17 September 2001
His partner, Keith Bradkowski, said Collman was courageous and safety-conscious. "He was so focused on safety," Bradkowski said. "If there was a threat, he would have done anything in his power to prevent it." He didn't normally work the Boston-to-Los Angeles route but made an exception to get vacation time at the end of the month. Collman grew up in Yorkville, Ill., and besides Bradkowski left behind four brothers and a sister. (Seattle Times)

Further information: the fate of Flight 11.

Blogger Nathanael V.  found out 5 years after 9/11, that Jeffrey Collman was a neighbour's grandson.


and as attributed above.

9/11 - 18 years on

When this post is published, it will be exactly eighteen years to the minute that the first aircraft hit the World Trade Center in New York. The events of what is now referred to as 9/11 are only too well known.

My thoughts are with all victims, whether identified afterwards, or not. In New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.

My thoughts are with the passengers and crew on the four flights destroyed. My thoughts are with the victims killed in the World Trade Center. My thoughts are with those emergency workers who lost their lives trying to save others'.

My thoughts today are with the families of those who perpetrated these atrocities, for they lost too.

But first and foremost, my thoughts are with Norberto Hernandez, whose tribute I first filed on Northern Trip, the predecessor to Atlantic Lines and now A Cobbled Road, in 2006. The searches for Norberto on Google are contaminated with references to the Falling Man, who was in fact another victim, Jonathan Briley. This confusion has led to much anger and anguish, something the families of both men could do well without.

Norberto, rest in peace.

This entry, as stated above is dedicated to the memory of

Norberto was a pastry chef from Elmhurst, working in the restaurant Windows on the World on the 106th and 107th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York. After the attacks, he was reported missing for a week until parts of a torso and an arm were found in a collapsed stairwell. DNA testing and finger printing reveiled that these were the remains of Norberto. It also invalidated claims that the image of the Falling Man was that of Norberto; this was another victim of 9/11 who will be the subject of a different tribute.

At the time of the attacks on the WTC, Norberto was aged 42 and had been married for 25 years. He was the fourth of ten children by his parents’ marriage, and also had six half-siblings through his father. His parents separated when he was young. Norberto himself had three daughters, three grandchildren and 37 nephews. He was a man of Puerto Rican origins, and had hoped to spend his final days there. Instead, after 9/11, a funeral service was held and his remains cremated in Puerto Rico.

His sister Luz described Norberto. “He was quiet, kind”, she said. “He was a handsome man. Everybody loved him, you know. Everybody.” Norberto’s nickname was Bible, as he was very dependable. Together Forever was his motto.

Norberto started work in Windows on the World at the age of 17, washing dishes. He was interested in cooking, so a manager paid for his tuition at cooking school. Norberto became pastry chef and worked up to 10 hours a day. His sister Luz said that he made cakes, desserts, cookies and bread. His cakes were fabulous.

Outside work, Norberto loved sports, and was a fan of a Puerto Rican boxer, Felix Trinidad Jr. Four days before the attacks, he rang his mother and asked her to play “I would cry but I have no more tears” four times.

In the immediate aftermath of the plane striking the North Tower, Norberto called his sister Luz. “He said: ‘Yeah, don’t worry, I’m OK”.They were disconnected, and when Luz tried to call back she could not get through. Other accounts from Windows on the World tell that smoke and dust filled the restaurant after the strike, and that people lay on the floor to escape the worst of it. Air was beginning to run out at the time of the last contact.

These are the facts that I have managed to pull together from the Internet.

From the little that I have learned of Norberto, he came through as a gentle giant. Although 6’2” (1.84m) tall, he was always listening, and talked later. His family suffered a double loss, as Claribel Hernandez (his sister-in-law), a secretary working elsewhere in the North Tower, was also killed in the attacks. Norberto was close in the family and responsible, which earned him the nickname Bible. He loved his work, and by the look of one of the images, loved to impart that knowledge to others around him.

September 11th, 2001, dawned as a brilliantly sunny morning in New York. Two planes were flown into the two towers of the World Trade Center, leading to their collapse within 2 hours. The destruction of so many lives was brought about by mindless hatred and madness, fuelled by religious zealotry which was not based on any writing in any scriptures in any religion.

Norberto may have heard of that on news reports, but it was probably quite far from him. He was a man that lived for his family, always there for them. A diligent worker, putting in up to 10 hours a day, loving his creations from the oven. Travelling to the WTC on the Subway every morning, his thoughts were probably far from what was to happen not that much later on that fateful Tuesday.

Two thousand nine hundred and ninety-six are known to have died that day, or in its immediate aftermath. Norberto’s ashes were scattered in his homeland of Puerto Rico. His memory lives on in his family, and in the memory of those that read this. He is deeply missed by those close to him.

To Norberto Hernandez

Rest In Peace

This link is no longer operational

I have attempted to contact the University of Columbia to use the material in this link, but have not received a reply. As it is central to the tribute, I have used it, and acknowledge the writer, Sarah Clemence.

This is a poem by Barbara Phillips, from which I have used some factual references to Norberto. It refers to him being the Falling Man though.

I have been granted permission by UIM to reproduce the commemorative quilt for Norberto.
Link no longer operational
The poster, pictured above, proclaiming Norberto as missing after the attacks, hung on a walkway of Manhattan for more than a week

This is Norberto's inscription on the memorial at Ground Zero in Manhattan, New York.

18 years ago today

11 September 2001. Lunch hour was over, just gone 2pm. Storeman comes out of his cubby hole with an expression on his face as if he could not quite comprehend what he had just heard on the BBC Radio News. "They've flown a plane into the World Trade Center in New York!" he blurted out. Well, there was work to be done. But just after 3pm, news came through that another plane had been flown into the WTC, this time the other tower. I went home on the bus, and switched on the TV for the 6pm news. Both towers had collapsed, and some 3,000 people had died. Unbelievable scenes of devastation in New York. No, one of those days I'll forget. But wish I could. This song from Enya became, to me, the signature theme for 9/11...

Sunday, 8 September 2019

To Brexit or not to Brexit

I can see Boris Johnson's plan of action quite clearly now, in amongst all the resignations, lost votes and general flying of dust and feathers.

We'll leave the EU on 31st October, come hell or high water, according to Mr Johnson. Last week, Parliament passed a Bill to forbid Brexit without a deal. The determining date for that is October 19th. No new deal could possibly be cobbled together in just six weeks, and he knows it. Hence Amber Rudd's complaint that only 10-20% of government activity on Brexit goes into a new deal, and 80-90% into no-deal.

Parliament will be prorogued (suspended) no later than Thursday (12th), most likely Tuesday (10th) until October 14th. A European summit will convene on October 17th and 18th, and no deal will be in place. So, Boris Johnson should obey the law, by revolking Article 50 (having asked the EU for permission at that summit on the 17th/18th) and thereby cancelling Brexit. Because otherwise, there being no deal in place upon exiting the European Union on October 31st, he would break the law.

If revoking Article 50 is the outcome, then Mr Johnson will report to Parliament that he intends to do that - in order to obey the law. As Parliament itself has set out.

He could chance that by allowing the default option by running down the clock to October 31st - thereby fulfilling his promise to the people of the UK to exit the EU on that day. And after that, it's "après moi le déluge".

Tuesday, 3 September 2019


Brexit has proven to be the complete failure of the political system. After 23rd June, 2016, nobody accepted the outcome of the Brexit referendum. More than three years later, it is as if it was still to be held. The leaders of the various political parties have done nothing to impress on their followers to accept the outcome, however contrary to their own political beliefs that would be. Why? Because said leaders are all leading divided parties and are unable to hold down party discipline to enforce acceptance of said result. Theresa May did not; Jeremy Corbyn did not; and Boris Johnson is the right man at the wrong time. All he will now precipitate is an early election, which will resolve nothing. Just to bring the headbangers of Nigel Farage's Brexit party into parliament. This entire process will also bring about another vote on Scottish independence, something we need like a hole in the head.

Theresa May was a poor prime minister, but she was made to carry the can after David Cameron chickened out (left office and his seat as an MP) after the British people voted to leave the UK. David Cameron gambled and won on Scottish independence; but his gamble on Brexit backfired. Theresa May gambled on an election and lost, so the future was bright and the future was Orange - the orange of the DUP and its vile Northern Irish sectarianism. It was because of that that we had to endure inane debates about the backstop - with everybody forgetting what that was all about.

At the time of the Brexit referendum, nobody had the foggiest idea what Brexit would entail. We still don't know. I, as an EU national in the UK, still don't know what will happen on November 1st, after Brexit comes about. And that, dear readers, is a crashing failure of government.

Neither party, Conservatives nor Labour, come out of this smelling of roses. The Labour Party have failed to perform their statutory role as Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, to hold the Executive to account, and to adequately and critically scrutinise the Government's intentions. Jeremy Corbyn is a leader who says one thing, but actually thinks and does the opposite. I know people who hold strong political views, and as such, you profess them loudly and extensively, and argue your views to the death. JC does not do that.