Undoubtedly the inspiration of his nation, if not of the world, he
was, with Sherpa Tensing Norgay, the first to climb Mount Everest.
Apart from this, many other feats well documented elsewhere. But it
was in NZ where he was best loved and most inspirational. He was the
only living New Zealander to feature on a banknote, and as seemed
appropriate for his approach to life, it was the lowest value note,
$5. Sadly, the great man is gone. It is a sad day for New Zealand, and
a sad day for those with an explorer spirit, wherever they may be.
Meanwhile, while reflecting on this, my situation is quite different:
rather than alone on a mountain top, I am in a crowd on a train,
stalled in a tunnel. Most surprising is that absolutely nobody speaks:
the only sound is the rustling of turning pages and, strangely, of
rain on the carriage roof. Now at Baker Street.