Empirically Available !!          - 6/7/2009      <--Prev : Next-->

I was reading a blog entitled "The Chief Baboon" yesterday and one of the Chief's contributors, (aptly named "Igundwane") called me "Quite a patronising and empirical old woman" !!!

Well I ask you !! That sort of description applies to someone like Queen Victoria !!

I do apologise if I appear patronising, I often write with Tongue-in-Cheek and that lends itself oddly to a form of patronization ... but "Empirical" I shall have to look that one up in the dictionary !!

Of course it is all Paddy Vickery's fault ... she was my very special English teacher who taught us all to love the English language. I remember those dreamy sultry school mornings, the stifling summer heat forgotten, as she, in that incredible mellifluous voice, talked us through the Wind in the Willows, winding us down the river lazily with Ratty and Otter and Mr Badger.

I always wished I could write a column in the Chronicle, remember that one Martin Lee used to do - "The Chief"?

The Herald equivalent was "Cabbages and Kings" and here all the spicy, racy and risque side of the two cities would be presented in a most amusing, "T.I.C" manner. Now there was an "empirical" man !! Cheek.... very aptly named Igundwane is !

Those personalities of days gone by were all English aficionados, we was well taught at school we woz!!

Do you remember James Thrush, what a glorious man, his incredible military bearing, his meticulous attention to detail? He was my mentor and how I adored him. We would do radio programs together in the Montrose RBC studios and he would very rarely smile that stern encouraging smile, only once or twice to keep me going during the most arduous radio show.

Then there was Ken Jackson, I am not sure what his English claim to fame was but I do remember he would wear his slippers to read the news on telly. The top half of him was immaculate, but under the desk, in the freezing studio, were those snug, rather tatty, carpet slippers.

Alport Mhlanga was one of my very favourite TV presenters. Here was a man of incredible intelligence. He could speak about 8 languages and play the same number of musical instruments. We could talk for hours about African Folklore and Traditions. How I miss those days in his gentle company as he guided me through some of the rather headstrong days in my youth.

And then of course there is the Grand Old Man of Television and Radio - Peter Rollason. Such a gifted man, so articulate, so incomparably musical, such an authority on wildlife and nature.

To listen to him deliver an eulogy or undertake a commentary on an important event like the Queen's Birthday Parade or the Opening Ceremony of the Trade Fair was a sheer delight. His beautiful diction, his impeccable elocution was a delight to hear and he alone could conjure up verbally all the pomp and ceremony of a special occasion.

There are so many delicious columns in so many publications. HeeHoo loved to read Jeffrey Bernard's "Low Life" column in the Spectator, especially when Jeffrey could not manage his weekly task due to being "indisposed" which resulted in that wonderful West End Play "Jefrey Bernard is Unwell".

HeeHoo was inconsolable when Jeffrey died and not even Taki's "High Life" column could assuage his grief !!

Mea culpa, mea maxima culpa: even famous columnists can make the occasional error.

There is a great deal of artistic license in my articles, but if you know of anyone who would like to have me as a resident columnist, I am empirically challenged but literally available !!