Friday, August 10, 2007

The Churchill Series – Aug. 10, 2007

(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Yesterday’s post related Randolph Churchill’s recollection of a night spent gambling with his father at the Cannes Casino. They left the casino at five in the morning and couldn’t find a cab back to their hotel.

Churchill said they’d walk back to the hotel. He told Randolph it was “only four or five miles.” So off they went.

The year was 1935 and Churchill was sixty-one.

I think it’s quite something when a sixty-one year old who’s been up all night starts off on such a walk at five in the morning.

It’s also a reminder of something I haven’t said here recently but which bears repeating: Churchill possessed enormous physical energy right up to the last years of his life.

As a youth he was a golfer, played tennis, rode horses and swam in rough, tidal Channel waters.

He played polo until he was fifty-one. His principal bodyguard during WW II, Inspector Walter Thompson, recalled that Churchill regularly walked for exercise, sometimes even during the blackouts.

When we think of all Churchill did during WW II and after, it’s worth remembering that at the time he became Prime Minister in 1940, he was eligible for a government old age pension.

Moving on.

I don’t know whether any of you live in Chapel Hill, NC but there’s something called a “Power Triathlon” being held there tomorrow.

If you’re thinking of entering, there’s good news: temperatures here have dropped from 104 to 93 degrees.

Whatever you do this weekend, I hope some of it’s enjoyable and cool.