Tuesday 6 September 2011



Land of the sea, home of the brave,

To say goodbye with the crest of a wave

To play in the water and go jumble-sailing

(that surfing on couches sounds real entertaining)

A party, canalside, full pots of paella

Glasses of vino and bottles of Stella

A boat’s life offering the perfect slow pace

Chugging away with the sun on his face

And maybe a cellist attached to the top

Or resting a while with an afternoon stop

Searching car-booties for parts for a Beetle

Can bet on his travels the people he’ll meet’ll

Warm to the man whose eyes that do twinkle,

Arms that do hug and a nose that will wrinkle

A theatre turned into the Masque of the Red Death

A show designed to take away breath

That huge cowhide carpet he brought back from Spain

A marvel to look at and great to hide stains

“And why are you here?” he’d ask as he snapped,

Your soul and that canvas immortally trapped

A journey to Wales, the best train ride ever

Then playing in woods and with some endeavour

Fashioned bowls, wooded spoons, some knives and some forks

Then covering tracks to go off on walks

Wandering round sporting hats like tea-cosies

Flip-flops and jeans and a beard, I suppose he

Felt might attract the opposite sex

And I guess he was right (bow down in respect)

Talking of old flames, he’s a real King’s Cross hero

Taught the kids in his class the value of zero

Worked with the homeless at Shelter for Christmas

Driving down south through the night just to see us

A lover of mushrooms when raw or in stew

Always quite willing to make you a brew

Smashed with a kick the doors of perception

Went searching with torches to find his reflection

Crossing the States like Kerouac and Dylan

Charming the yanks with a smile oh so winning

Riding through Nashville one freezing cold winter

Climbing up trees without getting a blister

Met a nice girl and he said that he kissed her

Ten-thousand lanterns lift off by the lake

Peeled crawfish by rivers before a clambake

Building an arbor in Texas in Austin

Wandering forests so easily lost in

Erecting a pup tent in a yard as a gift

Calling his friends when they needed a lift

Slept under stairs with Greenpeace protestors

Took Evening Post pictures of those they arrested

Might finish a night with Burns or with Yeats

And a toast with a whisky to all of his mates

And laughing and laughing and laughing and laughing

And laughing and laughing and laughing

“You must listen to this, I know it’s for you

Come watch this play, it’s something quite new,

I must introduce this man I’ve just met

And this girl is the right one, you’ll see, I just bet”

Once said that the words don’t count at all

What makes sense is the standing beside you real tall

He’s teaching us still to love one another

Look after our neighbour, our sister our brother.

Dig deep with your questions and then ask another

Surprise other folk with acts of pure kindness

Make sure that we care for those lagging behind us

If the best you can say is he’s good to his horse

And the worst you can say is he ain’t

You know that Greg’s mount had a stable and straw

A paddock and friends and carrots galore.

To sadness let’s offer an act of defiance

Let’s say goodbye to the last of the giants


  1. Wonderful. Sounds like a hell of a bloke.

  2. A lovely tribute. I did not know your friend but I know the quality of him, from your eulogy.

  3. What a great man; you've said it all Nigel, I know just what you mean. A spirit that will live on in the hearts of others. xx

  4. Beautiful words, Nigel. He sounds like a great bloke. Peace.

  5. Awesome Nige and extra special to hear you deliver it in person on Monday. Thank you x

  6. So sorry to hear of your loss but how lucky he is to have had you for a friend.

  7. I really loved that man. It was an honour to carry him from the hearse and another to read out these words. I guess what we do now is keep his memory alive for as long as we are, make sure we follow such a shining example of humanity. When in doubt, ask "what would Greg do".

  8. If he was your friend Nigel, I know I'd like him too. moving and tender.

  9. glorious! i know what it is like to lose a best friend, and you wrote it so well.

  10. Just came across this thanks to a friend sharing (Karen M from Clayton Brook - Greg's Evening Post days) it was wonderful to be part of Greg's life and Celebration when you read this out Nigel. This poem is indeed a great tribute to Greg and points to the inspiration we can all take from his life well lived! love Larch

  11. Just found this again, reading and beaming at the same time, thanks Nigel. Still miss the big guy, love Sacha x

    1. Glad you stopped by. And I still miss him, too. x