I have just returned from a long weekend at the ‘Winter Words’ literary festival in Pitlochry (Scotland…Perthshire…Tay Valley…beautiful scenery, got it?). On Saturday evening I attended a talk by Neil Oliver entitled, appropriately and unsurprisingly, ‘An Evening with Neil Oliver’. If you have never heard of Neil Oliver then I would be interested to know where you have been for the last few years (apologies to my few non-UK readers, there is no reason why you should have heard of the man. Google him, he has big hair – not big hair like Billy Connolly, big like Richard III). Amongst other things he (Neil Oliver, not Richard III), recently presented the BBC series ‘Coast’, and also ‘A history of Scotland’. Now, I am not a Scot. I first visited Scotland on a geology field trip in 1970 and I fell in love with the place. I have now lived here for ten years. But this is not about me, this is about Oliver. Not only is he passionate about Scotland, he is passionate about everything he does.
Neil’s talk should have been called ‘A history of Neil Oliver’, because that’s what it was. When he started the Scotland series he got a lot of flak from academics, which in my experience is the way some academics like to burst through into the real world (Oliver is definitely NOT an academic). His story about how he came to be asked to present ‘Coast’ is fascinating. My initial thoughts were that he was lucky, that he was in the right place at the right time. While I was driving home I realised I was wrong. We are in the right place at the right time because we put ourselves there. And as for luck, there is that saying: ‘The harder I work, the luckier I seem to be.’
Okay. Sorry. Far too much philosophy here. Maybe I simply had a thinking weekend that stimulated the little grey cells. Thank you, Neil.