When I was 18 years old Morse was first aired on TV. It was the 6th January 1987.
Fast forward 30 years and I am now an avid ‘fan’. More than that, I get to share my stories and findings with my guests on my tours that I conduct in Oxford. I certainly would not mind going to the pub with young Endeavour any day!
The family home that I talk about was in Buckinghamshire. When I started a family of my own, I settled in Oxfordshire. As time passed and the family grew up, I decided to re-train as a Green Badge guide for Oxford. It was a challenging time but I loved learning all about this stunning city. When you first qualify, you do so as a ‘University and City’ guide only.
Brief thoughts flickered through my mind about becoming a Morse guide but did I really want to do more training after such an intense 9 months*? The work I was receiving was sufficient and I had my family which kept me pretty busy!
So what changed my mind? I think it was meeting Colin Dexter that was the turning point.
It was a bitterly cold winter day and I was in The Morse Bar at The Randolph. I am sure many of you have already been but if not, you must add to your list! Anyway, I digress.
There I was looking at the photos of John Thaw and perhaps reflecting quietly on my youth and watching Morse with my parents. I glanced down and thought ‘hang on a minute’. There was Colin. He had some signed Morse books (how I wish I had brought one). Colin kindly allowed me to sit down and chat for a few minutes. What a delightful and amusing gentleman he was. We chatted about Morse and had a giggle. He was fun and a little flirtatious but I did not mind at all – rather made my day! Our time was all too brief as I had to start my tour. I bid him farewell with a kiss on each cheek and in hopefulness that our paths would cross again. Sadly, it was not to be. Colin’s health was detoriating and he died a few years later – 21st March 2017.
I had my photo taken with Colin and would proudly show anyone that displayed a flicker of interest.
It is perhaps with poignancy but pleasure and privilege too, that I have recently been invited and accepted an invitation to Colin’s memorial service. I have no idea as yet who will be there but I am just looking forward to adding my personal thanks to this wonderful man and without whom, I would be unable to conduct these tours and pass on the stories.
There are plans to erect a statue to Colin in Summertown, just outside the centre of Oxford and you can read more about that here:-
Thank you Colin.
- Heidi, like all guides working for Walking Tours of Oxford is a fully qualified green badge guide – member of The Institute of Tourist Guiding and The Oxford Guild of Tour Guides and that is what stands us apart from some of the other Operators in Oxford.