Spitfire Troubadour

June 26, 2009

School was a failure, but later on learning the joys and hazards of life during five war years in the RAF was a good grounding…but for what? Was it for serenading ladies on their balconies in Italy with a guitar? Or making his first appearance on TV in 1946 playing a home-made pipe? Or addressing an audience of 5000 at the Albert Hall? Perhaps for meeting and shaking hands with Sir Winston Churchill, Noel Coward, King George VI and Roy Rogers. Or having his first sex in a whorehouse in Georgia with a College girl for $2.00? … No no, that was part of the training! Being the skipper of a 50ft sailing trimaran on charter… Or being the guest on ‘In Town Tonight’ in Johannesburg? Being presented with Dick Van Dyke’s own chromatic harmonica when he explained that he couldn’t cope with it. Becoming the Master of Ceremonies at the biggest strip club in Denver, Colorado? Driving alone through four countries in Africa in a two-stroke motorcar or having ‘Alf Garnet’ for dinner and agreeing with him on most points… Offering his wife’s recipe for watercress soup as requested by Jack Heinz in exchange for his recipe for baked beans… Renting his school bus to Charles Manson? After being shot down in a Spitfire and later shot up by a firing squad, he is still walking around with a bullet in the back. It constantly reminds him of why we all went to war…to save our country from an invasion and to maintain ‘This Happy Breed’…as Noel Coward would have said. Returning to England after 37 years to find much of it is like a foreign country, he wonders did the politicians mess it up all by themselves? Was keeping their seats, their salaries and their power so important that they would sacrifice our country and sell us out for a few extra votes? As a pilot, he would say that they have put us into a spin from which it will be difficult to recover. ‘God Save the Queen’ and ‘hats off’ to the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles who occasionally say what they are thinking!


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