Memories of Mike
Created by Freddie one year ago
I must have met Mike on the day Kate and I graduated from university, but my first memory of him is slightly later, at the huge joint birthday party the Land family held at the Grange. He was in full mediaeval dress, with a bizarre instrument (I believe a crumhorn, but it could honestly have been anything) plugged into his mouth, and he was making the most incredible sound with it. This turned out to have been a pretty good introduction to him and fairly typical of much of our later interaction.
It was my first visit to the Land household after Kate and I had begun going out, but sadly (owing to the party) I was not in a very good state to make a decent impression on the following morning. Mike was unfailingly kind, however, and very good humored about a large young man being repeatedly sick in his bathroom. Over the next many years he was never any less kind, and extraordinarily generous with his food, his time, his whisky and his wine. I will remember him as being interested in everything, and always so very interesting himself. Every visit was a pleasure, and you would never know what you would end up talking about, which odd medieval instrument you would hear playing (sometimes as the first thing you heard very early in the morning after it had woken you up), or which book or curio you'd find yourself poring over with him.
Above all, he was tremendously fun, and tremendously funny as well. I don't think I had a single dull visit to his house, nor a dull visit from him when much later we were able to host him and Rosemary at our own home. Both our little girls loved him very much as their 'Papa' and grandfather, and it's terribly sad that they will no longer have the benefit of his huge and wide-ranging fascination with everything under the sun (and quite a lot beyond it). His gifts to them were always thoughtful and in many cases will be with us for years, such as the professional microscope he gave them a couple of Christmases ago. The girls will miss him greatly, and so will I. He and Rosemary gave me a bottle of Talisker just last month for my birthday, and I've been sipping it and thinking of him; we were both very fond of this and it will always remind me of him.
I'll miss his kindness, his wit, his brain and his generosity - but thank you Mike for all of these while we had you with us.