I am sitting here with my fingers and toes firmly crossed in the hope that this year will not end disastrously or next year begin equally disastrously. This 'heavy cold' with which Her Maj is suffering seems to be lasting a very long time and today there is news that she will not attend church at Sandringham on New Year's Day which is a real break in her habit of the past 28 years. I can only hope that her advisers are being extra cautious rather than, perhaps, dealing with something serious. Of course, at her age death is always at hand but it is difficult for me to comprehend Britain without her as sovereign. As a very young Air Cadet, I stood outside Buckingham Palace and cheered her on the day she was crowned. To quote the late Edward Albee in another context, there has been 'a lot of blood under the bridge since then'. Through it all she has been dutiful and steadfast and I do wish her well as soon as possible.