Alas my fellow travellers, my legs have decided not to enjoy walking so this week I invite you to join me in my garden for our trip down Memory Lane.
I must admit after 40 years of writing this weekly column I sometimes wonder what to write, and enjoying the sun and with a few vodka and no calorie cokes this is one such day.
Therefore there is no theme to this week's article but just memories that happen to come into my mind. For instance. I once invited Adam Faith to an event and he told me: "I was working in the cutting rooms of a studio in Borehamwood in the late 1950s when I got my first number one in the hit parade, but I still held onto my film union ticket in case it all petered out."
At the same event, Sir Nigel Hawthorne told me: "When I was a struggling actor in the late 1960s my friend Jimmy Perry told me he had been commissioned to write a new television series called Dad's Army by the BBC. He offered me a part, but I said this is the swinging sixties and who wants to see a series about the Home Guard? How wrong was I - but that's showbiz."
I recall meeting James Mason when he was filming Murder By Decree at Elstree, playing Doctor Watson to Christopher Plummer's Sherlock Holmes in a story in which the great detective comes up against Jack The Ripper and the Freemasons. This must have been the late 1970s and I think it is still fun to watch. Personally, I have been asked to join the Freemasons in the past but it is not my scene, although my great grandad was a big noise in that club in Edwardian times.
Anyhow while the film was being shot I was inspired to visit the Whitechapel scenes of the Ripper murders. In those days there was still something to see but that has all gone now, although Ripper walks are still a hit with tourists. I remember we stopped at an original pub that the brewery had renamed the Jack The Ripper pub, but I understand the rather silly council made it change its name to be politically correct.
Anyway, James told me that his film career nearly ground to a halt at Elstree in the early 1930s when he was sacked from a film as the director felt he had no future in movies. Of course James went on to enjoy a long and successful career.
I guess at a similar time I heard they were making a film called 10 Rillington Place, starring Richard Attenborough, about the famous post-war mass murderer John Christie. They were able to shoot in the real cul de sac, although not the actual house, which gives the film real atmosphere and I recommend it. I visited 10 Rillington Place, but received a hostile welcome from people still living in the road; I understand they were fed up with the likes of me. Not long after that the road was demolished. I am told the demolition crew sold the door to number 10 several times over by using other doors in the road and just getting the number 10 figures from the local Woolworths. Can you blame them?
Some years later I was invited to be on the salute platform at the passing out parade of Met Police recruits at the Hendon Police College. It was my reward for having helped in their training process by being a volunteer role player in various scenes. That was great fun as I got to play a judge, a pub brawler, a prison warder handcuffed to a prisoner who produces a gun on the top deck of a double decker bus, and a drunk driver. My other reward was to take part in simulated shootings training and visits to Scotland Yard's famous Black Museum, although I am told we must now call it the Crime Museum.
The latter has fascinating items relating to Jack the Ripper and John Christie and much more. It is not open to the public, which is a shame.
When I look back on my life I have enjoyed a wonderful time, so whatever the future holds is fair enough as I have my memories. I have no interest in this silly showbiz world of today so forgive me if I cannot tell you who won 'Big Brother' or have any great desire to go to the cinema much these days. Until we meet again next week, you take care as I need my companions on our walks down Memory Lane.