Saturday, 21 March 2009

Hypnosis to Halitosis

It’s a funny old world. There are personal dramas and sagas played out on a daily basis. Each person has his or her own play in which they alone are the key role.

The new week started, as the last one ended, with a visit to a hypnotist.

With the Formula One world gearing up for another tour of the globe, equipment, cars and people were all being mustered to be packed and freighted. This inevitably resulted in some fairly stressful and often fraught times. Thus I decided that in order to help me work “smarter” a quick reset of the brain wouldn’t go amiss.

An interesting journey where I re-learnt to relax and focus. Much to my surprise, I discovered that one of the biggest is, no – was procrastination. So that was dealt with straight away!

Monday brought with it the shocking news that a supplier in America had taken his own life. Quite what happened that day, I am sure no one will ever fully know, much less understand.
Whenever I had spoken with Jamie on the telephone, the conversations would always be lengthy and punctuated by much laughter. A great, larger than life character who never failed to be positive.
It became obvious during subsequent phone calls and emails with his work “family” that he will be sorely missed by those who knew him better than I ever would. I am sure that wherever his soul now is, it is a much brighter place for having him there.

The latter half of the week was dominated not only with the shipment of McLaren Racing’s small part of the Formula One circus to Australia, but also by the retirement of one of the most interesting and amusing people that I have had the privilege of knowing.
Tyler Alexander, native of Massachusetts, USA came to England in the early 1960’s and subsequently became involved in the motor racing activities of a young New Zealander, Bruce McLaren. His professional life has been well documented, as have many of the hundreds of stunning photographs that he has taken on his amazing journey.

On Friday 20th March 2009, Tyler “TJA” Alexander, Ray “Tex” Rowe and Neil “Tinker” Trundle were awarded fellowships of McLaren. A new initiative to honour those who have helped McLaren to become one of the most successful motor racing teams of all times. Between the three men there are in excess of 125 years of motor racing passion and legend.

The weekend brought for me the first wedding chauffeuring job of the year. Driving “Anne” a 1959 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud I took a young lady called Natasha to a picturesque little church in Effingham, Surrey where she was married to Phil. The party then retired to the stunning Horsley Towers Hotel for the wedding breakfast and celebrations. A large part of life’s great adventure for this young couple. A tiny piece of the huge jigsaw that makes every hour of every day of the world that we all share.

Life is full of huge peaks and troughs. While Natasha and Phil were celebrating the happiest day of their lives in Surrey, a memorial service was being held in Lauderdale, Florida for Jamie. Hundreds of people were preparing to leave their families and travel to the other side of the world, not to return for many weeks. One man who wasn’t going with them this time was living the first day of the rest of his life.

During the presentation of Tyler’s fellowship, Ron Dennis, CEO of the McLaren Group, and ironically a man on Jamie Connell’s wish list of people to meet, reminded the assembled group of one of TJ’s many profound, laconic statements.

“Halitosis is better than no breath at all.”