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Today's quote:

Saturday, July 18, 2015

The only death we experience is other people's

The bar at the SAVOY HOTEL in Piraeus in Greece

 

Insomnia and I have been uneasy bedfellows for many years. Last night was no exception: still awake at two in the morning, I'd taken the dogs (and myself) for a pee and then tried to get some sleep. But sleep wouldn't come. Instead, I started thinking - I don't know why - about my old friend Hans Moehrke in Cape Town.

Hans and I had met when he stayed at the SAVOY HOTEL in Piraeus where I was a permanent resident during my "Greek days". We breasted the bar on many nights and over many drinks, bemoaning the state of the world and our place in it.

We were both in commodity trading: I mainly in grains, in lots of 20,000, 30,000, even 50,000 tonnes at a time - click here - , whereas Hans was more into pork bellies for which there wasn't much demand from my Saudi masters in Jeddah.

We stayed in touch after my return to Australia in 1985, sometimes through an occasional phone call but more often through letters which became more sporadic after Hans had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease which made it impossible for him to write.

Anyway, with all this going through my mind, I was wide awake by then and thought I might as well get up, make myself a cup of tea and switch on the computer. And then - I still don't know what made me do it - I Googled for "Hans Moehrke Cape Town" and found this:

www.remembered.co.za
Hans Horst Moehrke was born on 30 July 1934
and passed away on 27 May 2015 in Cape Town.
Posted by Remembered Admin, 10 Jun 2015

OH MY GOD! And it happened less than two months ago!

Then I remembered his last "message", quite some time ago, which was a small parcel containing a paperback book. It had been some sort of detective novel which I don't usually bother with and which I had tucked away for a rainy day when I might be short of something to read.

Well, it wasn't so much a rainy day as a very sad early morning when I went across to my library to pull Hans's book off the shelf. It was an Inspector Morse novel with the now very prescient title
Death Is Now My Neighbour.

Had Hans tried to tell me something?

Rest in Peace, Hans.
People die only when we forget them.
I shan't forget you.