Years ago someone asked me what phrase I would choose for my epitaph. I said I could live with most criticisms on my tombstone, but I’d be very unhappy if no one felt they could include words to the effect of “He was good to be with”.
A list of my interests usually ends with “… and just talking to people”. I hope I do a lot of listening too, but as I slip gently towards retirement I can’t resist the temptation to turn talk into writing. I will share my private passions – music, travel, theatre, food and drink, literature, friendship and goodness knows what else – with anyone who cares to listen. Reply to the things I write and I will be listening to you too.
It will be an eclectic mix – in other words, a ragbag of random subjects which you can take or leave. In a long career in professional regulation and management I have written many, many words, read by people who have had to read them. Now I want to write things for people who want to read them. I am not Jane Austen, nor was meant to be. I am an unassuming wordsmith who adores the rich, diverse, infinitely resourceful, living English language and loves to make use of it.
I don’t promise to be uncontroversial but I will do my best to be harmless. Which brings me back to epitaphs. When that fine actor Paul Eddington – well known to viewers of The Good Life and that greatest of TV sitcoms Yes, Minister – was asked the same question close to the end of his life, he reflected for a moment then said he wished it could say “He never did much harm”.
Well over half way through my unblameless life, I’d settle for that too.