Well, that’s that – “Done and dusted” as they say. Monday’s much-awaited trip to Caversham Park to be interviewed by BBC Berkshire’s Anne Diamond came and went, and I have to say that it was a very enjoyable experience. What was supposed to be a ten-minute chat turned into a ten-minute chat then a piece of music, then part two of the chat which went on for almost another ten minutes (though the entire experience felt like it took about two minutes!). Meeting Anne Diamond was, unlike meeting many familiar-from-TV people, no disappointment at all. She was a pleasure to talk to, and exuded a genuine interest in wood. The elfin girl I used to watch on TV years ago was still there, still bubbly and bright-eyed, so it was no wonder the time flew by. I left the studio feeling that I could work with her on a longer item – knowing that she had that enthusiasm for wood, and knowing that between us we could make it sound very interesting – though I don’t suppose the opportunity will ever arise! On my way out of the studio and through to the control room, the phones were ringing – and I was told that they had already had several calls from people who were saying how much they had enjoyed the piece. That made me feel rather pleased!
Caversham Park had another significance for me, though. It was the first time that I had visited the place and, being a Radio ham with a lifelong interest in Radio, I was aware of the history of this fine Victorian mansion as a BBC Listening Station during World War 2, and nowadays as the BBC’s worldwide monitoring station where media broadcasts from all over the world are monitored. It is also where my mentor in the early days of my Ham Radio activity, the late Ron Ashton, GW5YB, was chief engineer for the BBC in the late 1940′s. He was a quiet, unassuming and very gentle man who embodied everything good about the brotherhood of amateur radio and his knowledge of radio engineering was phenomenal. I still use his morse key for my transmitting and I have so much to thank him for. Strange that only a couple of weeks ago, I was writing in this blog about the legacy of Samuel Morse, and here we are, days later – and the history of radio pops up again – and morse code as well!