friend, companion and partner Hugh Nolan. R.I.P.
On Monday the 2nd November 2009 Bex and I were at Tottenham Hale Station
waiting for the train to Stansted Airport and a weeks break from London at
our villa in North Cyprus. I had written to Hugh a week or so before,
chatting about life, Arsenal football and wishing him well on recovering
from another bout of illness that had brought him back to Australia months
back from his home in Vietnam.
My mobile rang and it was Deborah, Hugh's long time wife, telling me that
Hugh's illness was severe and his fight against the cancer was drawing to
a close. She was sitting with him at his bedside talking to me and if he
stopped breathing she would probably drop the phone. She didn't drop the
phone for the 45 minutes we talked, she did tell me of his brave fight to
retrieve a life from a disease determined to end it. He'd fought the pain
with his usual gentleness and dignity, never offering a cruel word or
curse towards it, he had always been a truly gentle loving man.
We talked of their scuppered plans of building a holiday retreat on their
beach front land in China Bay Vietnam, of her success with her first book
and how the advance was perfectly timed to help out with his medical
bills, how he had written a bunch of radio show programmes, read books and
listened to his beloved music.
He had written to me three months earlier telling me his day was spent
sitting weakened in his chair watching the waves spread themselves over
the beach in front of his house then retreat back into the blue ocean for
another try. We had talked through e-mails of my visit to Hanoi six years
previous, the trip up to the mountains of Sapa and our weekend of sailing
in Halong Bay, the caves we explored on the Christmas we shared together.
He was editing the English written tourist and ex-pats bi-weekly magazine
Time Out ( nothing to do with London's TO), he loved Vietnam.
So bless him, peace be with him and remember all the great radio, writing
and love he gave to the world.....if only more people could have his sense
of being on the planet we would be in a far far better place now.