I can’t remember if I said, a few weeks ago, there was a programme about Morecambe and Wise and we were really pleased when they showed a short clip of an episode in which a friend of ours appeared. It prompted me to Google his name and, on IMDB, I found out which episode it was. I promptly ordered that series from Amazon and squirrelled it away for a suitable occasion. When Ro was at a loss for a birthday present for his father, I offered it to him.
Norman and Barbara were dear friends of the Sage’s. They had an antique shop in London and often did business together; the Sage was a full-time auctioneer at that time and they bought a good deal of stuff from him. Norman’s day, or rather evening, job was musician; he was a pianist and a composer and played at all sorts of events, night clubs, variety shows, the Ritz – he was the pianist there too, although I don’t think he ever overshadowed the soup and annoyed the chef to the point of violence*, he was far too considerate for that.
The year before I married the Sage, Norman and Barbara’s daughter Carole had her 21st birthday party at the Ritz and the Sprig** was a guest. One of the highlights of his social life, that was, it was fabulous. And the first time he took me to London on my own (we had gone there with his friend Arthur the week before to an art exhibition), sort of our first date, he took me to their shop to introduce me to them. They were highly intrigued, he had never been seen by them with a woman before, and along he came with an extremely young girl (well, compared to him, that is) who hardly said a word, and no explanation!
Anyway, Norman died some years ago and Barbara is in her 80s now and has recently moved house to live near Carole, and we phone each other a couple of times a year. The 60s and 70s were the best years, I suppose, he was earning and spending a lot of money and having plenty of fun. He was absolutely lovely and we remember him with great affection.
I’ve just checked the DVD to find the episode with Norman in – if you happen to have the programmes, it’s Series 9, Episode 5, very near the start. It was absolutely lovely to see him again, and I’d forgotten that the sketch lasted several minutes. I shall put it on the Sage’s laptop later, he will love it too.
**I have momentarily forgotten whether, immediately before marrying me, he was the Sprout or the Sprig. In any case, he achieved Sagacity on marriage.