I was enthralled and my mind was instantly transported to war-torn Plymouth when I recently heard an episode of a book on BBC Radio 4, the book was 'NANCY, the story of Lady Astor.' Most of you who read this may be too young to have even heard of her
but she was a childhood hero for me and a hero for my home city of Plymouth. During the Nazi Blitz she was the Lady Mayoress and travelled ceaselessly around the city consoling victims of bombing, making sure rescue and support facilities were in place and
making fiery, inspiring speeches. I was eight when the city centre was flattened in two or three nights and maybe a year later I was in the audience at one of her rousing speeches. That time her theme was that we all, every man jack, must make extraordinary
efforts and together we could defeat those blasted from Hell wretched Nazis. She ended, throwing out a typical Nancy Astor rallying call, "Some talk about the average man but I don't want the average man on my side, I want the above-average man!" She mingled
with the crowd and suddenly she was face to face with little me, she looked me straight in the eye and said,"What's your name?" "Bill," I said. She prodded me in the tummy and said,"Well Bill, will you be one of my above-average men?" "Yes!" I enthusiastically
replied. She chuckled, smiled and moved on. I am now long retired and live among the vines of Provence -- but I can still feel that gentle prod... and I hope she would classify me as one of her above-average men.