Your correspondent cannot claim ever to have been more acquainted with Lord MacLehose than waving to him as his car passed by once. But that wave was more a salute than the usual hello gesture you might make in such circumstances. The man commanded it. Never was there a better marriage of Daimler and back-seat passenger. This one had an authority that put the copycats to shame. Nor did he need the Daimler for it. Your correspondent remembers one gathering in the old Hilton Hotel at which Lord MacLehose briefly dropped in. People stood as he walked through the door. It wasn't just that he was governor. He was MacLehose and for that towering presence you stood up. It was so too in the later years of his retirement. He did not speak often in public about Hong Kong affairs. Ex-governors can quickly make things difficult for their successors if they do. But when he spoke, you listened. At the time Chris Patten advocated his democracy measures and pushed them through against Beijing's protest, there were plenty of British diplomats who were almost vituperative in their criticism of him. It was easy to discount. Foreign Office hacks objecting to the appointment of a governor who was not one of their number, you said. Buggins wasn't appointed when it was Buggins' turn and just as well, as Buggins never favoured democracy anyway but hadn't the courage to say so. Yet when Lord MacLehose lent his support to those criticisms, you listened. You got them calmly in those measured MacLehose tones, perfectly phrased with the proper reserve. Perhaps there was more than Buggins' jealousy at play, you said. A man for whom you stand up is a man to whom you listen. Hong Kong has plenty of legacies to Lord MacLehose's work but, without discounting any of the others, the outstanding one for your correspondent will always be the MacLehose Trail. Here was another man who came expecting probably to see only a squalid urban sprawl and then discovered the stunning natural beauty of Sai Kung or the plateau below Ma On Shan, so close to the world's most crowded city and yet no one would never know it once over the brow of the first hill. He put his stamp on that, going for long walks there whenever his schedule would permit him to and, when he returned home, he left us the country parks and a 100-kilometre trail that will long be one of Hong Kong's greatest surprises and delights. We are now beginning to have doubts about some of the other legacies he left us. The public housing programme is in trouble, beset by scandal and questions about whether a now wealthy society should place so great an emphasis on direct provision of public housing when subsidy for the needy could be more appropriate. Let us remember the man, however, in the context of his times. He took over a public housing effort at a time when Hong Kong was poorer and in greater need and he did it as the predominant social thinking of his time said he should do it. He also did it as well as anyone in his position possibly could do it at the time. And then there was the quiet way he set about the business of dealing with that thorniest of all issues - the future of Hong Kong after the 1997 expiry of Britain's lease on the New Territories. His was the achievement of winning the confidence of the leadership in Beijing for the talks that then followed. The fact that the only real change in the lives of most Hong Kong people when sovereignty changed hands on that midnight three years ago was that the clock went 'tick' was in large measure attributable to him. But perhaps the greatest legacy he left us was the memory of the man himself. When people reflect in times to come about the model of an old-style colonial governor one will stand out from all the others.