A great friend has passed away in France and this news not only came out of the blue but was utterly unexpected for another reason. I had always believed that Colin would live well into his nineties, and quite possibly long enough to receive a birthday card from The Queen. He would very much have liked that. The longevity of other members of his family reinforced this belief.
The fact that he is gone at 77 adds to the shock of the news. He passed away in France on 15th March and I am writing this partly in the hope that some of his friends and colleagues in Britain will know of this sad event.
He had been at his home in Brittany with his partner for quite some time, unable to come home partly because of his illness but also because of the pandemic. Colin and his partner have many friends in the village, including the Mayor, so much needed support is at hand.
A glass of wine
Upon hearing the news yesterday I decided the only thing I could do under the circumstances was to open a bottle of the best wine in the house – French of course. And so a bottle of Cotes du Rhone Villages found its way into a large Dartington crystal wine glass. I was thinking that at some point in the not-too-distant future I would be sharing a bottle of good wine with Colin in his orchard in Brittany, along with one of our lengthy, deep and humorous conversations. This would have been preceded of course by a bottle or two of Monk’s Retreat; Colin’s very own cider from the very orchard we would be relaxing in.
This idyllic event will never take place, and I feel sad about that. But I have shared many memorable events with Colin since I first knew him in 1995. Just about every single one involved alcohol, great conversation and great humour. Colin knew how to enjoy life.
Conferences & Meetings – and the pub afterwards!
Many of my memories revolve around our work in the field of energy and energy efficiency and we met when he was working at the London Borough of Lambeth and I was working right next door at the London Borough of Southwark. ‘The Two Colin’s’ gained a certain notoriety in the late 90’s and into the 21st century. We were at every energy-related event going and encouraging as many of our colleagues to join us in a bar or pub afterwards. This is not only where we learned about each other but also where some real honest thinking and business was done.
I remain convinced that it was the social aspect of conferences and meetings that kept us all together – in this case the London boroughs – and working together to bring about success. Colin and I attended just about every conference: Blackpool, York, Belfast, Solihull, Leeds – too many to mention. I have managed to find a few photographs from a National Home Energy Rating conference on 11th October 1999. These are reproduced below and I must apologise for the very poor quality; they were taken with a very early digital camera that boasted 1 megapixel!
In one of the photos you may be able to make out that Colin has two glasses of wine; I think one was mine but we both suffered a similar problem at events such as these where gratis wine was available: get two while it’s free! We were often seen with a glass in each hand.
I am sure that many people will have many happy anecdotes and stories to tell, and I would be only too glad to hear from you should you wish to get in touch.