Occasionally you meet people who become very significant in your life

Occasionally you meet people who become very significant in your life changing the way that one thinks, when this happens to me I am almost immediately aware of their significance, one such person died recently and I attended his funeral. He was my father in law as it happened, the father to my late wife and I must say someone who made life an interesting place.

One thing I learnt from him was life was made interesting by the energy that you put into your hobbies and into listening and being interested in other people; he was loved because he was so interested in others. He was musical and made friends with many including Oscar Peterson the great of jazz piano he was extraordinary because he seemed to know so many people including actors, top QC's, Knights of the realm and although he had been to Oxford he had not come from a particularly privileged background but seemed almost by accident to move in exalted circles. He was also important in the success of an international renowned DJ and a deva from the world of Punk that he heard perform in a London pub after which he contacted a friend who was an A and R man and she was signed up.

What he had was passion and when he loved something he became an expert, literally, he was great at languages but I was astounded that within two years of becoming interested in a little Spanish island he and his wife were totally fluent in Spanish and set up a course for doctors there to learn English.

When someone like this (who had incidentally a photographic memory, being able to not only recite poetry but could tell you on which page and where on the page it was), enters your life you have to reassess all that you thought you knew and subsequently when they leave I now realise that process happens again.

Going out for a walk on my own I started to think about how happiness is dependent on having that attitude of mind that makes events resonant, adding meaning however naïve those meanings may seem to others and what I learnt was that music does exactly that. John was the first man that I knew who could totally dissolve into tears when listening to music, any music, any music that is that had an emotional element. I suppose we are talking about someone who would have in the past been referred to as a renaissance man, a polymath, he was certainly brilliant and I learnt through him that great minds NEVER try to impress you with how clever they are and let me tell you that I have met many who want to show exactly how much Plato, Virgil and Shakespeare they can quote and they are often Public School headmasters in my experience.

You will be missed here but I am sure that where ever you have gone it will be all the better for your arrival.