A brief survey of happier days. I’m an honest man who believes in hard grind for fair reward. Mr Murdoch and I have much in common, it seems. We are both newspapermen to the core, our own Newcastle Mercury predating the Thunderer by some fifty years!  We live and die by the pen, and by results – tough, but fair minded and compassionate where loyalty is key.

Mary Savage was Brigid’s mother, a lovely lady. We got on well. Brigid, an artist, (like my great aunt Alice), inspired no doubt by her mother and her own ancestor and muse, Walter Savage Landor (like her younger brother, Timothy alongside), was my first, and probably last, love. Childhood years spent together in Dar es Salaam, East Africa, and reunited again in London and Newfoundland after my divorce and her separation – six gifted children, four of mine and two of hers, but sadly unhappy marriages.

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For dissenters or stitch up merchants, we have no patience. Thunderers both and common heritages it seems with Scotland, the Highlands and Lowlands and Skye thrown in! Exile and exclusion is in our blood, and hugely proud of it we are; a branch, post Culloden, Aikenhead and Dupont, were accomplished Apothecaries in Cork, Daunt’s Square, during the French Revolution with their neutral standing ensuring that both Edinburgh and London reaped the vital benefit medical science needed from Paris and rewarding our family lines globally since, and particularly in the USA and Canada.

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My father’s war service and our predecessors in the Great War was distinguished as was my mother’s in the ATS and her brother’s in the RAF and their own history in Australia, where steadfast service to King, Queen and Country was fundamental too, with quietness and resolve but blessed with many gifts, not least a sense of humour!

Meditationes Sacrae ipsa scientia potestas est (knowledge itself is power) by Sir Francis Bacon 1597

Nature I loved, and, next to NatureArt: I warmed both hands before the fire of Life;. It sinks; and I am ready to depart. Walter Savage Landor, English Cemetery, Florence 1864

Alastair Brett was kindness personified supporting me in all ten London Marathons I ran for St Joseph’s Hospice, Hackney and Mary Aikenhead’s nuns, between 2000 and my last in 2010. Ditto Christopher Riches, ex Editorial Director, Reference, Harper Collins.

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