On a weekend such as this, it’s hard not to let the mind wander into questioning whatever happened to all our big ideas.

I’m talking moonwalking – as in moon landings, not that backwards shuffle performed by a manboy in a hat, with a gloved hand on his crotch. Men on the moon. One small step... 50 years ago, when ideas were big.

If you’re of a certain age you’ll remember it well. It was, as Neil Armstrong put it, a giant leap for mankind. It surely was, even if sometimes it feels as though mankind has been shuffling in reverse ever since.

My recollections of that day are clear. I was on holiday with the family in Spain and along with all the other hotel guests - most of them alarmingly red and exposing peeling skin with pride – we were gathered around a black and white television screen, eager to witness the momentous event.

To my shame now, I was less than enthralled. I had my eye on a mahogany tanned Swiss boy who was floating nonchalantly on a lilo in the pool, looking like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate – only taller. I can forgive myself... I was very young.

My brother, egged on by Dad, was giddy with excitement. I’d not seen him so thrilled since Leeds United won the First Division Championship title which, if memory serves, was the previous year – or thereabouts. For obvious reasons, he’s not been so enthused about football since. His one-time team lost their big ideas too. “Do you think one day men might live on the moon?” he asked.

“Maybe. Anything’s possible now,” Dad said.

Mum leaned into me, interrupting my distracting fixation with the pool Adonis, and whispered laconically: “This could be very good news for women.”

It was a half century ago. Nobody – neither man nor woman – is living on the moon, aspirations have shrunk, ambition has been diluted and giant leaps for mankind have lost their ability to excite, beyond suspicion that someone somewhere must be trying to rip us off with a hidden agenda.

Thinking big, the little Dumfries and Galloway town of Langholm claimed Neil Armstrong as its own – it being the traditional seat of Clan Armstrong – and issued an invitation to the globally celebrated astronaut to make it his ancestral home and become its first Freeman.

He accepted, visited with his wife to receive the honour in 1972 and said: “The most difficult place to be recognised is in one’s own home town. I consider this, now, my home town.”

Remarkable really. Quite a leap for ambitious Langholm and for the US moon walker, who liked to believe that ordinary people across the world could be united by extraordinary achievements, friendship and thinking outside self-imposed boundaries.

The moon landing anniversary is a big deal. Or should be. It represents how exceptional we can be when we stop sweating the small stuff and release the limitless potential of imagination, creativity, exploration and adventure.

Can’t say there’s much evidence of us embracing a lot of that now, when we’re so terribly busy promoting division through shrinkage. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that’s a very long way from where we used to be when our ideas were bigger and braver.

Perhaps it’s a cyclical thing. Maybe we’ll wake up soon and recognise that shuffling backwards – with or without a hat and groin-grabbing hand – gets us nowhere fast. That we always do better together in friendship than when we’re alone and hostile... or is that idea also too big for us now?

Anyway, I digress. In the end, in that southern Spanish hotel, I caught the best bits on the telly, marvelled at Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, then went back to the pool to watch the magnificent Swiss boy on his float.

And should you be wondering, we remained pen pals for years. There could have been more but – well, I was very young and my ideas (thanks to Mum) were not quite that big yet.