When it comes to big stories, such as the invasion of Iraq, the credit crunch, or more recently the inauguration of President Barack Obama – I think of my father. I wonder what he would have made of some of the events of the last decade. He was a man who made a difference to many people’s lives, whilst at the same time having his fair share of laughs. I recently reread a story about an escapade he and some friends were involved in. They had been solving the world’s problems over a couple of drinks in a bar when the landlord decided it was time to close. As all other bars had already closed, these friends hit on the idea of finding an international airport transit lounge in which to carry on their conversation. They contacted a local air taxi service and convinced the owner to fly them the equivalent of the distance from Puddletown to Exeter. As they took off, my father noticed two red lights ahead of the plane. He asked the pilot what the lights were for. “Oh that’s the wife” replied the pilot. “When she turns left I know it’s time to lift off or we go into the hedge.” They arrived to an empty international airport, apart from a lonely barman polishing glasses to kill the time. As it happened the local constabulary were in attendance and the sergeant turned out to be an old friend. He signed off duty, joined them at the bar for a few hours and waved goodbye to them as they set off for home in the morning. The tale was recounted by the pilot to many and picked up by a local paper. Whatever he would have made of the way we live today I think my father would have found something to chuckle about – they sure went to great lengths to solve the world’s problems in those days.