A pleasure, as ever, to catch up with the globetrotting McGlade-Wallers who had a stop off on in Edinburgh last night.
Rosie Waller is an old pal from my newspaper days in Newcastle and Johnie McGlade is her husband (it was a very memorable wedding) – and as interesting spouse teams go, you’ll be stretched to find a more dynamic duo.
Their charity, No Strings, is well worth checking out for its tremendous work helping children in the Third World.
They use a selection of brilliant puppets – created by the world- renowned and revered team who invented the Muppets – to bring a bit of fun into the lives of kids in parts of the world ravaged by war, disease and disaster.
Their unsung efforts have seen them tackle the problem of landmines in Afghanistan, the risks of HIV in East Africa and helping kids cope in the wake of natural disasters like tsunamis and earthquakes in the Far East.
Johnie is a force of nature himself. A beguilingly charismatic Irishman (aren’t they all) who is a whirlwind of charm, concern and hilarious anecdotes.
As you might imagine it takes someone with a towering personality and equipped with all the best personality traits to merge seamlessly between the worlds of showbiz in the UK and US – then step off a plane in some god-forsaken backwater where lives are blighted by endless misfortune.
Whether travelling through Afghan deserts on a motorbike-mounted mobile cinema (yes, a cinema on a motorbike!) or hobnobbing with the elite of America’s entertainment world in New York, Johnie and Rosie still retain one simple focus: what can we do next to help?
So it’s nice to hear they do sometimes take a wee, well-earned break, as became clear in my favourit stoy from last night.
Fresh back from a disaster site in the Phillipines, the couple were due to attend a glittering event in Prague, where their work was earning some long overdue recognition in front of an audience including the Clintons and an assortment of the great and the good.
Alas, jetlagged Rosie had to head off on her own because Johnie had a more pressing engagement – a nerve-shredding day on the sofa with his pet dogs while he watched his beloved Ireland rugby team win their first grand slam in 61 years.
Check out No Strings whenever you get the chance.