Sunday, 12 January 2020

Ramblings Of A Silly Old Man - CHAPTER THIRTEEN


Well have you, have you ever met anyone famous ?  I have, a few. So who is the most famous person I have ever met ? Depends how you assess being famous ?

A politician ?  Famous  person !  Don't be silly, this form of low-life is infamous not famous.

A pop singer ? I did once meet Billy J Kramer, I hop you know who he is. A great singer from the rock and roll years who is still performing today. In two books of mine, works of fiction while this Ramblings Of A Silly Old Man is factual, I met and became friends with Freddie Mercury as I did in another book with Elvis Presley.

Footballers ? Loads of them but there's nothing special about being a footballer. Widen that to sportsmen and I do know Eddie The Eagle.

TV Star ? Star - they twinkle and shine for a moment before disappearing into a black hole. I met the late Roger Tongue who played Sandy Richardson in the ill-fated soap Crossroads. He was born in the same year as I was but sadly died at the young age of thirty-one. Also appearing in Crossroads was Jack Haig, he is better remembered as Le Clerc the forger in Allo Allo. I worked with his wife. But being a TV soap actor is not being famous is it ?  

Let's step things up a bit. Have I ever met a member of The Royal Family ?  Yes, actually I have. No, not The Queen, my wife has met The Queen, I have met Prince Phillip The Duke of Edinburgh.

It is a very long time ago in my history that I achieved the accolade but I am a holder of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award. It was at a gathering of those working within the award scheme that we met. The Duke flew himself into the meeting piloting a helicopter. I remember so clearly him walking round making small talk. He was a real man and ever so easy to talk with. We talked about a Mexican band he had once watched. 

TV star ?  How can I have forgotten John Noakes, the later John Noakes who was a presenter on Blue Peter ? Now there was a real man and a mega star. Lovely person.

The most famous person I ever met was not a sportsman, a TV actor or presenter or a member of The Royal Family. He was able to go about his daily life without anyone having a clue who he was, not knowing of his call to fame.

The night of Sunday 16th May 1943 this gentleman was part of RAF 617 Squadron, The Dam Busters. 

Can I change the working of my original question. Set aside Who is the most famous person you have ever met and say Who is the most important person you have ever met ?  That is very easy to answer: Me, Yours Truly, The Silly Old Man.  Ask yourself the same question and you will answer naming yourself. Within the world you live YOU are the most important person. You have untold influence not only on your own life and the life of your family and friends but upon every single person you encounter every day. That influence, of course, can be for good or it can be for bad.

I am going to end this rambling with some words which I first hear at Freshers Day in Oxford in 1971, they have remained with me as words of great importance ever since:

GO PLACIDLY amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

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