Saturday, 24 December 2011

Sad Day at RoA

I attended the funeral of my friend Harry yesterday.

Harry was a self made man. A mechanical magician who could take apart any piece of mechanical apparatus. Whats more he would know how to put it all back together again. Harry was from the old school of engineers and was at his happiest when up to his elbows in muck. Trained at Rolls Royce, with engineering time served in many parts of the world. Large strong hands and yet deft enough of touch to play the organ. I once went to see him to borrow a pair of his circlip pliers after rebuilding a prop shaft bearing. He took the circlips and popped each one into the bearing using just his thumbs.

Oil platforms and rigging the cranes were among his last big engineering jobs, before starting his own business. He also held a private pilots licence and part owned a Tiger Moth at one time. One day many years ago we were on the motorway when we were pulled over by plod. Plod says "You were going a bit there sir, I don't know if I should report you for speeding or low flying." Harry retorts "Make your mind up which one then, both my licences are here." Plod has a chuckle to himself and after admonishing Harry about his excessive speed, Plod then lets him off with a warning.

Later I and others encouraged him to became a radio amateur. Ultimately in the UK he became G0JMU, and as he spent six months in Africa each year, he was also a popular contact as 7Q7HB One of a very few amateurs operating out of Malawi.

Harry was also a Les Dawson type joker, A deadpan face that could without the slightest flicker set anyone up for the fall. He has suckered me in so many times. The annoying thing is that I was always wary and half expecting it! Today, I half expected him to pop his head round the chapel door and shout "surprise." When its standing room only at any funeral, you know that the person was exceptional.

Yesterday, we were joined by other radio amateur friends from home and abroad. We knew of others that were unable to attend because they could not get flights into the UK at this time of year. When an amateur radio operator passes away, he is referred to as going "silent key" (no more Morse).  Harry was a gentleman and a very close friend, who I shall miss.

RIP Harry.  di di dit   da di dar

We have also been to see the new Sherlock Holmes film. (A game of Shadows) Homes has been played by many people over the years. I am a Basil Rathbone man when it comes down selecting my favourite actor. Robert Downey Jr has however done a passable attempt at playing the part.

The plot:- When the Crown Prince of Austria is found dead, the evidence, as construed by Inspector Lestrade, points to suicide. But Sherlock Holmes deduces that the prince has been the victim of murder that is only one piece of a larger and much more portentous puzzle, designed by Professor Moriarty. The cunning Moriarty is always one step ahead of Holmes as he spins a web of death and destruction.

With something of a nod to "Enter the Dragon" and "The Matrix" by way of special effects. Its worth a viewing if you get a chance.


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