It’s Tom Conti’s birthday tomorrow. He’s 70. Which reminds me of the last time we met in Edinburgh.
You can’t imagine him being anything other than a nice guy and you’d be right. Paisley-born of an Italian father and Scots mother.
He was clad in a black bomber jacket and blue denims. Was he a good Catholic? “Half-hearted, you might say. I left. My parents were not rosary swingers much.
“My father was Italian and Italians have a very realistic attitude to the Church,” says Tom, pictured above.
“I don’t like organised religion at all. Sikh, Tamil, Protestant, Catholic. . . the whole lot of them are just trouble.”
His Glaswegian wife was an actress and there’s an Edinburgh slant to how they met. “I was in a play here at the Lyceum and we met in my dressing room,’’ he recalled. “After the show, when we nipped into a cafe called the Quernstone just off Tollcross, I discovered over a cup of tea that we would be appearing together in a radio play.
“I couldn’t wait those five weeks till we met again for the play. You could say it was love at first sight. We got married the following year.
“That may seem hasty but I can assure we were canny. Call it Scots caution.”
Yes, Tom, but why can’t we see you again, Oscar-nominated, for arguably your finest performance in Reuben, Reuben? Unavailable as a DVD and, strangely, never seen on television far as I know.
The best-laid plan to convert my window box into a verdant oasis depended on the unwitting co-operation of the mounted constabulary.
Their nags tried their hardest. Strained almost beyond equine endurance, I’m sure, to leave their mark in my path on the pavement en route to Easter Road.
And I always thought they liked their oats.
Possibly they’d been fed the wrong mix.