Saturday, 7 July 2012


Today has not been a good day.

It started badly: the post bought a notification from the police and the DVLA that I had exceeded the speed limit in Cambridge and been caught on GATSO Candid Camera. Those of you that know me and my driving style will agree that this was a complete aberration. However, they have me bang to rights, so I'll come quietly.....

Mark turned up at 08:30. We tuned up some banjos then headed off to Alan's boat to meet James and do more toward fitting the BMC 1.5 and giving the 'Irene' some movement back.

We started. We did some stuff. It poured with rain.......

Lunchtime-ish, I went to the local Tresco Scilly Isle's supermarket to purchase some comestibles for 'me boys'.

On the way back the phone rang.

And the world turned upside down.......

It was my friend Annie.

Her husband Rik died this morning.

They were married a scant few months ago.

It was a Soho Wedding. We all got outrageously drunk and had a hooter of a time. I had an awful hangover afterwards..........

And now Rik is dead.

He died as a result of complications from a biopsy. The cancer was so advanced he was riddled with it.

He was younger than me by a few months......

What to do?

What to say?

I have no words that will assuage the grief of my beautiful Annie.

I often used to joke with Rik during their Olympic Gold Medal Endurance Courtship, that if he didn't hurry up and marry her, then I bloody well would.....

They were friends, partners, lovers, call it what you will from some time in the early nineties.

They were Annie and Rik.

A word about them.

I first met them in about 1998 when I lived in Dean Street in Soho.

There was a disturbance in the stairwell to our flats: a girl had taken some drugs and was absolutely out of her mind and screaming, hallucinating God alone knows what. I went out, stayed with her and tried to calm her until the ambulance arrived. Rik came down. I had not met him before. He said he'd heard the noise and wondered what it was all about. I told Him. 'You heard screaming?' he said, 'And you walked towards it?..... You'd better come and have a drink....'

We became fast friends, he, Annie and I.

I could tell you about the fine nights of foolery, the drinking, the talking, the making of food for friends, the life, the love and the sheer joie de vivre that simply poured out of my friend Rik......

I could tell you about the piece of chalk and the water-washable pen that he always carried with him in case he was inspired to some brilliant graffito in a pub loo.....

I could tell you of his kindness when another friend, utterly broken by a relationship, wept on him for hours in the cellar of The French House pub.

I could tell you of his discretion, for the friend told me of this, not Rik.

I could tell you of his gladness, his generosity, his big, big heart.

And I could tell you of his love for Annie Wolohan.

I could tell you so many things.

I could tell you, and you might well believe me, but still I would fail.

I could never, as I live, do his great heart justice......

I loved him as a brother, and now he is gone.

My tears are for myself.

They are selfish tears.

If you pray, please pray for my friend Rik. Pray for the repose of his soul.

Pray for Annie, beautiful Annie, that somehow she will get through this.

Pray for all of us, who were richer for knowing him, and now feel bereft.

I cannot believe you are gone, my friend.

We needed you to stay.

I wish wish wish you had..............


There are no more words tonight.


  1. The tears will never hold the grief my friend. Words will never hold the answers. My thoughts hold you, all who love you and your friends.

  2. So so sad to read this.

    1. There is great, great sadness, yes.

      But I was honoured to know him and take joy from the memories.

      We must do all we can for Annie.

  3. A beautiful heartfelt post, bless you all

    1. Thank you so much.

      May your blessing come back to you gilded.

  4. Oh John we are so sorry to read this sad news. God Bless Annie and all who knew and loved Rik. Although a terrible shock the only consolation of reading your blog is that if he was, as you said "riddled with cancer" at least he didn't have to suffer chemotherapy and a long slow painful death. That might not ease anyones grief but I'm sure it was better for Rik. Our love and thoughts are with you all at this sad time. Big Hugs Nikki xxxxx