Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Dodderyoldfart. Goodbye, Friend.

Tonight I'm sad, I've had news that a friend has died. A friend I never met in person, a friend of the blog world, of comments and of emails. Yet a friend, nevertheless. The world is a lesser place.
A couple of days ago I was taking photographs, to send to him for his blog. Recently he sent me something for mine. I can't believe he's gone.

Doddery. As I knew him, from Dodderyoldfart, the name he adopted for his blog.
He was a roadworker, in New Zealand. Taranaki/Awakino, places I know only through his words and pictures. Simon, (for that was his name outside of the blogosphere), worked on the highways. In his blog, with great humour, he described the places, the work, the people, and so much more besides. In doing so he revealed his philosophy of life, his belief in the value of honest toil, in the values of doing the job right. He was often called out at night, or in storms, to recover vehicles, repair, cut fallen trees, clear landslips, sometimes to deal with the tragedies of the highway.
He wrote of the people on the roads. workers and travellers, gentle folk and fools.
We often pass those men in the bright high-vis jackets, and give them not a thought.
I'm a working man too. A man in dirty overalls and steel-toed boots. I'd like to think that my working garb does not define me. Doddery's certainly didn't define him. He was well read, a thinker, a philosopher of the back-hoe.
He enjoyed his work, for the most part, it seems The machines were his toys. He cared that a job was done right.
In my imagined world of the blog archipelago, the lights on a friendly island have winked out. A patch of darkness, a sense of loss. A couple of days ago he was firing off witticisms, sparking comments, now he's gone.
The only consolation is that I understand he died suddenly, without warning, of natural causes.
I hope there's a heaven. And a new entrant... frowning at the road surface... searching around for some tools. Muttering about potholes.
And I hope he's told "The tools are coming soon... But today, mate, take the day and go fishing. -and the pub's doing free beer tonight, Doddery."

I guess it won't happen. But I'd like to imagine him being carried to his last resting place in the back of his truck, and laid to rest in a neatly dug trench, properly backfilled... And topped with a gleaming, perfectly rolled, cambered, tarred seal. Maybe a white line... And a sign
Rest Area..

Addendum- This just in on the comments:

"Well, Doddery DID get carried on the back of his truck! He was taken home from the hospital by his amazing workmates on the back of his truck for an amazing funeral send off.
- posted by one of his sisters."
08 June 2007 01:13


  1. Know exactly how you feel. I can't believe I won't get to meet him in person.

  2. shoe shop girl30 May 2007 at 20:42

    i feel cheated somehow........i had just met him.......he inspired me.....made me laugh.........challenged me.......i was and am delighted to have met him vis a vis the blog world.....already i miss him......some connections seem to reach so much further beyond the computer screen in front of me...

    i hope golden lit stilettos light his way in heaven and that he is laughing at me even now ... knowing how little i truly know about life, love and the world around me.

  3. So sorry to hear of your dear friend's passing.
    Rest assured that his heaven is what wuld mean the most to, if i's fishing and having a free pint at the pub then raise your glass to the sky ..with him-for him.

    Here's a poem I posted on my blog in honor of a friend who had passed away in January.

    When I die if you need to weep
    Cry for your brother or sister
    Walking the street beside you
    And when you need me put your arms around anyone
    And give them what you need to give me.
    I want to leave you something
    Something better than words or sounds.
    Look for me in the people I've known or loved
    And if you cannot give me away
    At least let me live in your eyes and not on your mind.
    You can love me most by letting hands touch hands
    By letting bodies touch bodies
    And by letting go of children that need to be free.
    Love doesn't die, people do
    So when all that's left of me is love
    Give me away.

    Now,Soubri- It's your turn to give him away.

  4. Fine Words For A Fine Man.
    I hope you dont mind, i have reprinted your words on my blog.

  5. I'm so sorry!
    There is small comfort in knowing that although there (most likely) isn't a heaven, he has achieved a genuine afterlife in your thoughts, heart, and memory.
    To me, that is a heaven worthy of inhabiting.

  6. Oh, that is so sad. If he could read what you've written for him, he would be very happy for it... they are lovely words.

  7. Thanks for your moving tribute to your friend, soubriquet. I have quoted you a little in my blog.

  8. Well, Doddery DID get carried on the back of his truck! He was taken home from the hospital by his amazing workmates on the back of his truck for an amazing funeral send off.
    - posted by one of his sisters.

  9. Dear Soubriquet,
    you seem like just such an island light yourself. This tribute is truly touching, in fact all of the bloggers' comments I've seen just make me cry. As Joni Mitchell said, love is touching souls, and to see how many lives Simon touched with his own special take on life from his wee corner of the world sheds light on a heartfelt community of like minds, so keep the torch aflame, I hope SImon knows how much you loved him.

  10. Anna, thank you for those words. I hope it has been some comfort, probably a bit of a surprise too, to all the family, to see how many people, near and far, counted Simon as a friend. A strange and volatile medium, this internet, and a rare privilege people like Simon give us, the opportunity to see through their eyes, another place, other lives. And he did it with such a mix of good humour and genuine enthusiasm for his subjects.
    He lives on in many hearts.
    I think, perhaps, if he could read all the words and comments.... he'd scratch his head and mutter "Silly buggers". But I think he'd smile, quietly, to himself.
    So best wishes to all his family, try to dwell on the smiles, not the sadness.


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