Margaret Thatcher has died at the age of 87, and the world's media will be full of obituaries. No-one needs this mostly-dormant blog to chip in.
Yet chipping in I am, to tell of the one time I met her, and in honor of the impression she made. She had already left Downing 10, and was in Israel for some sort of event, and she came by Yad Vashem. In those days I used to meet all sorts of prominent folks and give them tours; I met presidents, prime ministers, and many lesser luminaries. None of them left the impression she did. Her intelligence was so fierce and unusual it was like a physical force, knocking over whatever wasn't solid enough to withstand it. I don't remember exactly what it was I showed her - it must have been assorted interesting documents, some Nazi, some Jewish, that was the sort of thing I normally showed in such cases. She saw the essential significance in each of them well before I had finished explaining what they were, and tied them into her understanding of the world. I vividly remember thinking at the time that being one of her aides or ministers must have been unusually demanding, since if you didn't have total control of whatever it was you were presenting to her she'd have made you feel like an idiot.
Lost of people didn't like her, I know - though enough did to elect her repeatedly. Never having been one of her constituents, I never had to trouble myself with the question of how I might have evaluated her going into elections. After that one meeting, however, it was clear to me that she was no run-of-the-mill world leader.