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Douglas and the gas board

To know Douglas Learmond was to be enchanted by him. At home in the often shadowy world of metals base and precious, cocoa, coffee and sugar, Douglas was himself a rare commodity. He was a true gentleman and always generous with his time. His eccentricity could be very engaging and masked a degree of tenacity which revealed itself in unexpected ways. During a stint in the City office under his mentorship I told Douglas one morning that I would be in late the following day to take delivery of a gas cooker. The gas board would only commit to bringing the cooker over to my flat sometime in the course of the morning and steadfastly refused to give a specific delivery time. Douglas would have none of this. To my amazement, he insisted on calling the gas board himself. I heard him in his office badgering a hapless official for about 10 minutes. Eventually the gas board relented. The cooker was brought to my doorstep the following day not long after dawn. God bless you, Douglas. You were one of a kind. ■