The World's Greatest Explorer does 'stand-up'!

by Julian Westaby.

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If you’d been invited to listen to a speech by an Old Etonian, who’s a distant relative of the Royal family, you might be inclined to think it would be well worth a body-swerve. However, when said Old Etonian is none other than Sir Ranulph Fiennes, if you’d suddenly remembered an urgent dentist’s appointment, you’d have missed out.

We were present at the SCDI Annual Dinner and International Awards at Edinburgh’s EICC last weekend, where the ‘World’s Greatest Living Explorer’ explained, in his own unique, dry, witty and incredibly-understated way, how he’s managed to do…well, just about blinkin’ everything.

In modern-day life, hyperbole abounds and lots of ‘famous-for-15-minutes’ stars are eulogised for their ‘inner strength’, allowing them to get through to the next round in a dancing competition or winning a karaoke-type singing contest…Sir Ranulph’s unbelievable tales about his truly extraordinary life really gave proper perspective to the use of the phrase Positive Mental Attitude. Losing half of your fingers to frostbite might be a life-changing scenario to most people but to Sir Ranulph, it was merely a ‘small mistake’ and a minor irritation in his frankly unbelievable drive to do things everyone would only just dream of achieving. He responded by doing a bit of DIY surgery, cutting the tips of his OWN fingers off and carrying on! He simply has to be one of the most amazing human beings. That might sound ridiculous but his list of achievements beggars belief.  ‘Google’ him and you’ll see what we mean.

We’ve attended a number of events where ‘the great and the good’ have been wheeled-out to tell their ‘how I made it’ stories but we can’t really think of anyone who could hold a candle to Ranulph Fiennes’ story. He’s done so much, it’s a bit pointless trying to sum it up here and it’s clear that just ONE of the aspects of his life, his time in the SAS for instance, would make an incredibly entertaining book. The old adage is that everyone’s got a good book in them. If that’s the case, Sir Ranulph’s got a fair sized-library in him. In short, he’s a bloody amazing character!

Anyway, this is getting away from what was going to be the main point of this blog: the fact that the SCDI Annual Dinner and International Awards on Friday were rather good. As we were the creative force behind the look and feel of the event, we’re delighted it looked so good but lots of hard work by everyone at SCDI (not just us!) made this a cracking event. Everything really deserves a mention but as we march on our stomachs, we thought the grub, created by Leith’s deserved a special mention. Again, we’ve been to a few, so a fine dining experience at an Awards do? Yup, it was that good.

So, the things to take from our attendance? Well, we think Sir Ranulph should be a judge on the next X-Factor, we think having fun at Awards ceremonies is great and we’re hoping that the general ‘business’ positivity we experienced on Friday will  continue into next year. Things appear to be getting a whole lot better!