I first met Margaret Thatcher in 1970 when I was 14. Or was it 1971 when I was 15? I can’t remember.
Some people say they have photographic memories. I do…but there’s no film in the camera (at least I can remember back to the days of putting rolls of 35mm film into a camera).
But the reason I mention Margaret Thatcher is because she did have a truly remarkable memory until she was tragically struck down by a series of strokes.
When I met her in 1970 – or was it 1971? – she was Secretary of Education and Science, and was a panellist on the BBC Radio programme “Any Questions.”
My Mother had been invited to ask a question and took me along.
The next time I met Mrs Thatcher was in 1979 (or was it 1980?) when she was Prime Minister and I was interviewing her on BBC Radio. After the broadcast finished I mentioned that we’d met several years before when she was on “Any Questions,” and we’d spoken afterwards when I was 14 (oh, all right, I may have been 15).
She immediately recalled that night, saying how much she’d enjoyed it, especially sparring with Labour politician Lord George Brown, and simply sharing the platform with composer and television presenter Steve Race.
OK, maybe you’d expect her to remember that. But what I wasn’t prepared for was how she instantly recalled our conversation, saying that I was “the lad who asked her about the law” remembering that she had advised me on possible career paths within it. Astonishing.
Oh, by the way, I’ve still got a photographic memory in this digital age, but either the memory card’s full or the battery’s dead – I can’t remember which.