Today is the 100th birth anniversary of one of the most fascinating and interesting men I’ve ever had the privilege to know. Roald Dahl, was so many different things in his life. His writing has been loved by generations of children, even when they shocked and horrified their parents a bit!
For the last two years of Dahl’s life I had the good fortune to speak with him often, to meet with him and to visit him in his home. I well remember the day when I heard that he had passed away. The next day I had to go to his home and professionally work with his wife, Felicity to begin to put his financial affairs in order. One of the most poignant moments that day was when I was left to quietly say my farewells at the door of the little shed where he did his writing. The room was just as he’d left it – right down to his cigarette butts in the ashtray.
Still, as time goes on I learn more about this great man. This article beautifully sums up the man’s resilience and ability to make something good and meaningful out of bad situations;
One day my phone rang and I immediately recognised Mr Dahl’s voice on the phone. He asked me for a date and a time for a meeting. He explained that his ex-wife was going to be over visiting from the US and he wanted me to meet her to advise on some financial matters. I knew immediately he was talking about the great Hollywood starlet and Oscar winner, Patricia Neal. What an honour that was. The meeting was hard – how does a young man remain cool, calm and professional in the presence of such tinseltown royalty?
A big man, in so many ways. In his final weeks he may have shouted at me (more than a few times!) over the phone, but it was clear he was deeply troubled by his inability to fight and overcome the pain he was experiencing. When he finally went, it was in some ways a relief. But, we lost a great man that day.