Seeing through people is my trade. I am a doctor, specialising in radiology. I am also Sri Lankan, straight, slow witted and seriously boring. In other words, I can’t be more unlike Stephen Fry.
But, my god the things we have in common! Reading the Fry Chronicles was a revelation!
Cricket! Ever since Emburey spun England to victory in Sri Lanka’s inaugural test in ‘82, I have been hooked on the glorious game and eagerly await the return of the urn this winter.
Conan Doyle! Bedridden for a month after a fall when eleven, an uncle thrust in my hand the complete collection of Sherlock Holmes short stories. Despite English not being my first language and not having heard either of Doyle or Holmes, I was a fan by the time I had turned over the first page of a Scandal in Bohemia.
Cambridge! OK, I was not at one of the twenty five Stephen counts as proper undergraduate colleges but Hughes Hall was as riotous as the best of them despite the maturity of its student body.
Cooke! When I first arrived in England in the late 90s, and was idly tuning into radio stations in the car, the dulcet tones of Alistair Cooke caught my ear. A letter from America was my serendipitous introduction to that wonderful institution, Radio 4.
Computers! In a previous life, before reading medicine as a mature student at Cambridge, I was a geeky software engineer, having read computing in the land of our Ashes rivals. In choosing a medical speciality, I had embraced the flat screen lined world of the most silicon dependent of them, radiology.
Cartography! OK, I couldn’t think of a word beginning with ‘c’ to denote towns in England that I have had close associations with which Stephen has too. My first job as a brand new doctor was at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds, a stone’s throw away from and within smelling distance of the sugar factory that Stephen’s grandfather helped to build. My second job was at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, in Stephen’s hometown itself!
I am obviously beside myself with these coincidences but you probably think this is just a pathetic fan letter from someone who is in awe of the loveable legend that is Steven Fry. If so, you have seen through me.