While visiting my family in London, my brother Richard told me a story:

He and a friend were standing in line to enter a theatre. In front of them was a bald headed man and his wife. Richard whispered (quite carelessly) to his friend that he thought the man looked like a well-known football writer named Patrick Barclay, at least he looked like him from the back of his bald head. The wife of the man overheard the careless whisper and she leaned towards her bald-headed husband and told him that the man behind them thought he looked like Patrick Barclay. The man who was bald turned around to look at Richard and declared “I look like who?” and it was at that moment that Richard saw the bald man in front of him waiting to enter the theatre was not Patrick Barclay (sports writer) but was in fact Patrick Stewart (actor), a similarly bald man.

Patrick’s wife said “He thinks you look like Patrick Barclay, dear”.

“Patrick Barclay?!?! I don’t even know who that is!”

“He’s a football writer for The Times” explained Patrick (Stewart’s) wife.

“A football writer for The Times? I am NOT a football writer for The Times! I’m the bloody Captain of the Starship Enterprise!”


Patrick Stewart (Starship Captain) and Patrick Barclay (Football Writer)

Now, I think this story is quite lovely just as it is, and it’s stayed that way for the few weeks I’ve been visiting the Family.

On several occasions during that time Richard has driven me past a little thrift store not far from my parents house, and each time we’ve gone by I’ve looked pitifully out of the car window and asked him if we could stop so I could run in for a couple of minutes. “We’re not stopping. There’s nothing in there. I looked before you arrived” has been his constant (and, to be honest, rather mean-spirited) response.

A few days ago I was driven past the shop again, only now it was somebody else doing the driving. “Do you want to stop and look in the thrift store?” only needed to be said once.

And there, at the back of the shop, leaning up behind boring prints of quaint English countryside views, was an original painting of Patrick Barclay (football writer) dressed up as Patrick Stewart (the bloody Captain of the Starship Enterprise).

And I most definitely bought it.

“The reason some portraits don’t look true to life is that some people make no effort to resemble their pictures”

Salvador Dali

Artist (deceased)