I met a legend last night - a genuine national treasure.
Now, I'm sure many of you probably think "Oh for Christ's sake, that phrase is bandied about all too frequently these days to describe every other endearing, charming old codger who had some populist success decades ago."
Maybe so - but if you were to take a look under the dictionary definition of 'National Treasure', you'll surely see a picture of this particular man.
"Oh BUGGER OFF!" you now scream, "That fucking cliche is even worse than the first! 'look in the dictionary blah-de-fucking-blah!' ".
Well, fair enough.
But this guy surely is one about whom few will have any bad words to say. Surely Sheffield's most famous son...OK, you don't like that one either? Jeez!
Well, the fellow I'm referring to is Mr Michael Edward Palin CBE FRGS (I'm not sure what the collection of letters are at the end of his name either - perhaps he just likes amphibians or something).
diaries. Expensive for me and MrsOx at least, as poncy fish dinners don't come cheap when you are dining with Comedy Royalty.
However, I can actually say I was at dinner with Michael Palin last night, rather than at a book-launch. Which I of course did on Facebook and Twitter like the saddo I am. OK, so he was eating at the other end of the room. But he was eating the same thing in the same room at the same time. So I think it's acceptable to say I had dinner with him. I don't care if you don't think so.
I also managed to say something ball-achingly sycophantic to the man himself when getting my copy of his book signed after we'd finished our chocolate fondant puddings. Something along the lines of "Can I just thank you for changing my life?" Then trying to explain away this ridiculous and unnecessary outburst in relation to my passion for travel being enlightened after watching his Around the World in 80 Days series as a 10 year old.
Mr Palin was quite good about it, remaining jovially upbeat and indeed appearing outwardly pleased his work had made such an impression on me, whilst also managing not to look too worried as I lent across to try and shake his hand as well. Although he could have been hovering his other hand over the panic button for all I was aware, so in awe was I of being in the presence of one of my childhood heroes.
Despite getting a bit over-excited at the end though, It was indeed a pleasure to meet the man, hear some of his ripping yarns and share an expensive dinner in his (distant) company. I'm just glad his wife Sarah wasn't there*.
*That last one was actually MrsOx's joke, so please don't blame me for it.