Jim Cooke is an 80 year-old Aucklander who spent the majority of his working life in the insurance business mainly in Asia. Later he became involved in the forestry sector for fifteen years. Jim has written a series of travelogues and often gives talks about his overseas experiences. Now he wants to expand the writing into a memoir that will include his childhood growing up in Christchurch in the 1940s, his first trip to England at the age of seventeen and the 35 years he spent working outside NZ. He takes a strong interest in the education of his eight grandchildren and is keen to pass on stories about a time that is very different from today.
Waking at 6.45am I was pleased to see that the rain had ceased overnight. After shaking the drops off the clothes-lines, I helped my wife, Moyra, put out the washing. We always argue over the order. This seems to relate to which items need ironing and which do not. Needless to say she wins!
Whilst doing this we talk to a workman over the fence. He is wearing a yellow work safe jacket and an orange hard hat. He is putting in foundations for the neighbour’s new house, preparing for the concrete delivery, so is also happy with the good weather. We wish him good luck with the pour.
After a quick breakfast we take Moyra’s Peugeot to the garage across town. Fortunately traffic is light due mainly to school holidays. The car has been giving gear-box trouble. This sounds expensive and I am not convinced it can be satisfactorily repaired, but then I am something of a cynic, so let’s await the result. I hope the outcome is good for Moyra’s sake as she loves her EKU 888.
We then drive to the University of Auckland, Epsom campus to enjoy a coffee at the Quad café before starting another life writing session. I have brought along Christina Lamb’s book Farewell Kabul. Christina is a distinguished journalist and I am staggered at her ability as a woman to access all the key decision makers, both on the ground in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and as well in Washington and London. I am disheartened by her conclusion that this war has left Afghanistan one of the poorest nations on earth, the Taliban undefeated and nuclear armed Pakistan perhaps the most dangerous place on earth.
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