Years ago, I visited John in his office, familiar to me, a place we had spent countless of hours working on my thesis, covered in stuff, a place I could always find new inspiration and stimulation.
A desk piled high with stacks of paper. A whole wall of built-in bookcases packed with books and journals. A collection of early computing items that was begun in the 50s. Chess sets encompassing a range of different styles and periods. A poster commemorating the 100th anniversary of Queen Victoria's death. Old photographs including one showing his right arm reaching to receive the IBM 1620 through a window on the first floor of 21 Lincoln Place. It’s a museum of five decades of collection of computer artefacts from the digital revolution he started.
But I didn’t see the bicycle he cycled to work every morning for as long as I knew him since the 80s. Hearing the reason in his voice was terrible. John had been attacked by a burglar at his home, which left him traumatised and heartbroken, from which he never recovered---as I was told later.
“Without his vision and determination, it is highly unlikely …” These words bring tears to my eyes. Is it too late to say farewell?