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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Claims to fame

I can't match being descended from the translator of Asterix, but I do have some claims to fame of my own...

My grandfather ran the fish department of the Natural History Museum in London. His Big Fish Book was translated into Japanese, and that, you must agree, is saying something. There's not much you can teach those sushi-lovers about the finny tribe.

Among the parents whose offspring my father taught were the air raid warden from Dad's Army and the lady with the pussy (keep it clean, please) from Are You Being Served?

My uncle, also a teacher, included among his maths pupils the late Tony Miles, Britain's first chess grandmaster.

Mrs Cyrus went to school with a great-great-great- (that's enough greats) niece of Bismarck.

Before we were married Mrs C lived in the same street as Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

One of Mrs C's lecturers knows the Pope (he is by all accounts quite keen that his students should not overlook this interesting and important fact).

Not impressed yet? How about this: my father-in-law once saw Hitler in the flesh. Not by choice, I hasten to add. He was four or five at the time, and he and his mother chanced to be in a town where Mr Lovable was making a whistlestop inspection of the local troops.

I would like to able to record that I've had the more pleasant experience of seeing Nelson Mandela, but strict honesty compels me to admit that I saw his car. He was in Oxford collecting an honorary doctorate or whatever it is they hand out to the great and the good. I was part of a substantial crowd which spent a couple of hours waiting for him to appear, and, like I say, in due course his limo rolled past, complete with smoked glass windows. Ho, hum.

Anyway, dear reader, I trust you will treat future posts with a little more respect than hitherto. I'm not just nobody, you know.

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