My latest brush with fame!

I’ve had a few brushes of contact with famous people in my life. Not many, but some!

My first brush with fame was when I was a 4 year old girl living in Jerusalem and the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs at the time, Max van der Stoel, came to visit. They wanted a small Dutch kid to present him with flowers and my parents were approached for this, I think through the mayor’s office. My dad and the mayor knew each other through the work my dad did. I actually remember this occasion! I was very excited beforehand, I remember wearing a light blue dress, but when the time came, I got too shy and my dad had to help me hand over the flowers. That’s Jerusalem mayor Teddy Kollek grinning in the far left of the picture, Van der Stoel with the flowers and dark-rimmed glasses, shy me with hands in my mouth and on the right my dad, grinning wildly after he helped me hand over the flowers.

Max van der Stoel

When I was 15, I briefly met German president Richard von Weizsäcker once when he visited my dad’s office in Germany in support of the work my dad did in Jewish-Christian dialogue (you can see the back of my dad on the left in this picture)…

1985 Von Weizsäcker in Buber House

Another famous man my dad worked with a lot and whom we saw on occasion was the former Archbishop of Canterbury from 1974-1980, Lord Donald Coggan. Donald Cogggan was a very special and warm man, modest, smart and funny. He used to call my younger brother and sister and me his ‘scallywags’ and there is one picture of us that I treasure…

Scallywags_ed

Another brief moment of contact with a famous person is with Gregory Peck, although I never met him personally. I had once written him a fan letter (the one and only one I have ever written) and requested an autograph from him. I never heard back, gave up on it, until two or so years later I finally received a response! I got an autographed picture, along with a note of apology. Apparently a bag of fan mail had been misplaced, which is why it had taken so long for me to get a response! That autographed picture has gotten lost in this house somewhere and I am still determined to find it, along with the note and the envelope it came in. The picture that was signed looked like this one (found this image on Ebay):Gregory Peck autographWhen I was 22, I went to a book signing in a bookstore here in The Netherlands and briefly met Peter Ustinov! He signed his book for me, which I was getting for my birthday on that day. Esje is my family’s nickname for me and I can’t remeber why I would have told Mr Ustinov that. I do remember him being very personable, maybe he asked if I had a nickname? It’s too long ago, I can’t remember…

I have of course met Richard Armitage briefly at the stage door in London in 2014 and have autographed items and a picture to help me remember that…

I have caught a glimpse of Pierce Brosnan up close and personal and he signed a picture my friend, a huge Brosnan fan, had…

I have spent an evening in the company of Michael Palin, listening to him talk about Ernest Hemingway and, a few months later, received a personally autographed book from him that my husband had gotten for me for my birthday!

And this past summer, I even briefly met and chatted with Lord Charles Spencer, Princess Diana’s brother. He also signed a book for us (but it’s also made out to my husband, so I won’t post a picture of that here, Mr Esther’s real name is not for this blog).

My greatest brush with someone famous on the internet was when actress Sara Wiseman, who plays Carolyn on A Place To Call Home, liked my retweet of her tweet on Valentine’s Day 2016 and I was stoked about that…

Sara Wiseman tweet like 14-02-2016

And now today, two and a half hours ago, I discovered my latest brush with fame: Marta Dusseldorp, lead actress playing Sarah on A Place to Call Home, actually RETWEETED my tweet of yesterday in which I gush about APTCH season 5! Holy crap, I swear my heart stopped for a moment when I saw that! I never aim to have likes, replies or god forbid, retweets of any kind, but this one certainly has me stoked! Here, a screenshot from my phone when I discovered it!

Marta Dusseldorp retweet

So, thank you Marta Dusseldorp for making my day! And may we enjoy your talents for a long, long time to come!

My brush with royalty

One of the first things people associate with England is royalty and yes, I had a brush with royalty on my family holiday!

Yesterday we visited Ely, one of the oldest cathedrals in England and the cathedral that was also used on the cover of Pink Floyd’s album “Division Bell”. You have to look really closely at the album cover (click to enlarge) to even see it, but my husband, as a medieval buildings and Pink Floyd fan, knows this stuff. 🙂

Here I am taking a picture of the roof inside the cathedral through a mirror:

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Oliver Cromwell, 17th century revolutionary against the crown, also lived in Ely for a while. The house is now the tourist office…

Then today we visited Althorp, the residence of Charles, the Earl of Spencer, Princess Diana’s brother (click on images to enlarge).

We had some tea there…

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… and we saw this sign…

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As we had arrived at 13:00, we decided to stick around and take a peek. We bought a book about the house anyway, so we had our book signed as well!

This is as close as I’ll ever be to English royalty I think – I exchanged a few words with the future King of England’s uncle! Conversation with Earl Charles Spencer wasn’t stellar but it was friendly; he asked where we were from and who to make the book out to and thanked us for coming. It was all very pleasant and over very soon.

We visited the house and, in a separate building, saw an exhibition of beautiful photographs of Princess Diana by Mario Testino (her last photo session before she died, the prints exhibited were huge). We weren’t allowed to take any pictures, not of the inside of the house and not of the Diana photos, but I found some of the images that were displayed easily enough on the internet.

We also walked to the island on the Althorp estate which is Diana’s last resting place and visited the little shrine in her honour opposite it…

Afterwards my husband and the kids went kart-racing for half an hour, about 10 minutes by car away from Althorp…

… and while they were circling the track I was talking to a young man who worked there. He told me that the Earl sometimes also comes to the track. Maybe the princes have been there as well? In any case, my brush with royalty feels complete.