Friday, 26 March 2010

Six Degrees of Separation

Never mind six degrees, today I sat one degree, five feet to be precise, away from the greatest Englishman in modern history!
Just another Friday afternoon, & I sat in Caffe Nero reading John Crowder & sorting out my diary, when in walks the Rt Hon Nicholas Soames MP, grandson of Sir Winston Churchill. Here is a man who immediately draws attention to himself, not in an ego-centric way, he just has presence, & plenty of it.

Taking a seat at the ajoining table, I watched him lower his considerable frame into a chair which was never designed to have such greatness descend upon it. It was like trying to balance a grand piano on the quivering head of a matchstick.

I attempted to mind my own business & get into my book, but every so often I was picked up & dropped into the pages of history. His voice, which travelled rather well across the tables, carries echoes of all those speeches that were first heard across crackling wireless sets. So caught up was I in the moment that even an insipid comment about local building regulations beckoned me to stand & fight them on the beaches.

Then each time I glanced up, there was the profile - The jaw line, those famous bulldog jowls, the hairline, the broad proud shoulders somewhat rounded by the weight of world events.

Mr Soames of course is not his Grandfather. He is not perhaps touched with greatness, or maybe he has not been given the opportunity of a dire hour in which to discover it. He is nonetheless a good constituency MP who, if his comments today are anything to go by, seems genuine in his concern for those he represents.

Surely though, he must be fed up of wide eyed history buffs like me watching him in the manner of a slack jawed stalker. Try though I did, I couldn't stop myself. Here is a man who must have sat on Churchills knee, who heard first hand the stories of one of the last ever cavalry charges in the Boer war. Here was a man who played on holiday beaches with the leader who was ready to fight upon them. Here was a man who just mourned his Grandad whilst the rest of the nation filed passed at a state funeral.
Today I salute Mr Soames & his Grandad, though I will of course vote for neither of them come May!

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