In My Grandfather's Footsteps
Simon discusses his own literary creation in relation to the work of his famous relative, J.R.R. Tolkien. He also recollects memories of his grandfather, when as a boy he "went to stay with him and my grandmother for seaside holidays at the Miramar Hotel in Bournemouth on the south coast of England. We played endless word games and I asked him innumerable questions about Middle Earth and he was always kind and affectionate. I can close my eyes and see him now, wreathed in smoke like Gandalf as he lit his pipe with a flaring Swan Vesta match and spoke in a deep voice about dragons and dwarves. In the afternoons we went for long walks along the beach with the wind in our faces and he showed me just the right thin black stones for skimming out into the waves, and yet, however hard I tried, I never managed to skim mine as far as his, even though he was sixty-seven years older than me."