Tuesday, 26 January 2016


To score a day:

Add up all the people you touched.
Add all the people who touched you.


In 1981 I met a young Officer in Cyprus.

He died yesterday.

Here are the circumstances.


Here, very poignantly, is his last message to the world:


Sunday, 24 January 2016


I have called him Father ever since we met, though the truth is I was separated from my real Father, and my real Mother when I was very young.

I can truthfully say that there has not been a day since that separation when the cries of my Mother have not rung in my ears, as a waking thought, at the close of a day, or in troubled sleep, when the twitching of my limbs is the external sign of my silent recall of that event. Not always exactly silent. Sometimes I whimper in my sleep.

But my adopted Father has been wonderful.

Seeing him, being with him, dispels that infant pain. It is no exaggeration to say that I delight in his company. If, occasionally, he goes away, I await his return with an eagerness which takes over my whole body. When he returns I run to him in joy. His attention is pure joy to me - a joy which fills my whole attention.

He has cuddled and coddled me, and at the same time, seen me grow hard and lean, keen eyed and vigilant. He has put food before me every day. He has washed me, played with me, taken me on adventures with him, taught me the ways of the world around me, cleared up after me when I have made a mess, brought me little presents, forgiven me my failings, trained me, nurtured me, walked with me, loved me. He has given me a fantastic start in life. I could not have asked for more.

He has been unfailingly kind.

Even now, he has set before me a meal at this unusual time. He must be pleased with me indeed. This is  a real treat.

I am relishing it.

I lift my head from my food and turn my loving eyes towards him in thanks. Then, appreciative, I continue eating.

This meal is

Tuesday, 19 January 2016



Son:  I've got a gig, in London's West End

Dad: Oh, good.
Son: There'll be lots of important people in the audience at this one.

Dad: Like whom? can anyone really be more important than anyone else?

Son: Oh, shhh.
Dad: I thought you socialists believed in egalitarianism.
Son: You know what I mean, Dad.

Dad: No, son, I don't.

Saturday, 16 January 2016


I once had a lesson from a journalist. It was about "what is news?".

The journalists showed us two headlines. One said DOG BITES MAN. That is not news, said the journalist. The other said MAN BITES DOG. That is news, said the journalist.

Yesterday I found myself debating this. The motion was the more successful you are, the duller you are.

It ought to be true, and from personal observation, seems to be.

Success has as its lodestone the mainstream. But oddity is the commodity which makes something interesting, newsworthy.

Success also tends you towards self satisfaction, away from the creativity of re-examination.

The two are poor bed fellows.


The above makes me feel pleased to have had so many failures!

Thursday, 14 January 2016


A boy used to come to my place. He loved the orchard, the freedom of the countryside. He liked messing about in our wood and meadow. He liked driving my old Landrover, and the rather knackered tractor we had at the time. He liked lighting fires and cooking outdoors. He became a friend.

When he turned adult I wrote to him a letter, having, by a kind of mutual agreement between us, become appointed as his "moral guardian". This letter contained a very private form of wisdom (not very deep), dressed in the considerable affection I had and still have for him. Unbeknown to me, the letter became a treasure of his.

Later, contemplating his career options, he came to see me for advice. Naturally he got very little. But what did emerge was that his absolute love was film making. In the face of more sensible options, I advised him to follow his heart and passion.

Today, that young man had his latest film nominated for an Oscar, an achievement neither of us could have dreamt of as we talked back then in the grounds of my house.

I bathe in admiration for him and his success.

I hope to see him on the Red Carpet. I hope to see him grasp the golden statuette.