It was a great pleasure to be able to ‘welcome aboard’ the Queen Mary this evening my Johns Hopkins University contemporary, Christa Givich, and her husband, Mike. She and I studied together at the School of Advanced International Studies in 1979-80 and indeed served together on the student executive. It’s another of those academic diasporas I have already written about (see Denver and Martin Rhodes). Christa went into a specialised form of banking; she works for a company that bankrolls films. And, by chance, one of her latest films is The Dark Knight Rises. She told us that, notwithstanding the Aurora massacre, the film is set to top $1 billion in box-office sales alone (they calculate the losses related to the massacre at around $30 million). The last time I saw Christa was in a Bolognese trattoria. Now, here we were sitting in a restaurant aboard the Queen Mary on Long Beach, California, gazing out on pelicans and cormorants. I never tire of writing that the good thing about getting old is old friendships.