Eclectic, , a man of few words, not given to compromise with a wicked sense of humour and a delight in irony resisting attempts to categorise snappy dresser shy hard to know

Reliable yet unfailingly able to surprise

Clever, contradicory, erudite, with a massive, well-read library of books

He knew Whiskey and Whisky, was a connoisseur of Calvados, and could tell Cognac from Armagnac, Grappa, Pastis.

He smoked frightening quanties of tobacco, but despite his nick-name had no interest in and did not share the Rastafarian's love of the weed.

There was always a hint of danger about Ras.
He was loyal, gruff and kind of heart; a Man's man who carried a Man-bag before it was safe to do so.

He was probably a pacifist, but gave his young Godson an air pistol for a birthday present. His wide aquaintaince included Barney Somers who would not hurt a fly but gave the impression he could summon a drone strike if he was so minded; Wal Easy who walked the Keele campus with a felling-axe on his shoulder and later joined the shoot-to-kill police in Hong Kong; and Arthur McCutcheon, what can I say?

Ras was proudly Northern. But judging by where he chose to live,he, like the Dutch, prefered home-sickness to home.

Exotic - I close my eyes and see him in bazaars, souks, Turkish rugs, hookahs and shish tobacco. Or striding from St Giles church to the Old Bakehouse in a red waistcoat with sporran swinging, kilt swishing to the skirl of the Northumbrian pipes.


Humankind canot bear very much reality
When someone whom you love dies,
a crack appears in the walls you build
to keep out uncomfortable thoughts.
For a while you are able to look through the crack
and gaze upon eternity.
The experience can be bleak beyond forbearance
but it is just possible
that sometimes
a light shines through the gap.

Ralph George Knox

11.08.1941 2.6 2017