Rest in Heavens Peace Billy Graham

One of the jobs, in fact the first ever job I had -even though it was a long time ago- I remember so well.

In 1986 I got a job at the office of BGEA (Billy Graham Evangelistic Association) in Amsterdam working as an Office Assistant and later as a Steward at the RAI conference building. It was a job with great colleagues. Introduced by a dear friend (who is sadly long longer with us) I got a job high up in a tower block with offices (first time in an elevator). My job was to water plants at the office, amongst numerous other duties such as running errands, making coffee and cutting cake for guests, preparing mailings and much more. You can say I was the general dogsbody at the office, being able to stick my head around every corner to say hello to every colleague in the building and we had loads of fun too.

In memoriam Hrvoje Plešnik

A little sad todaySometimes looking for old friends in Google does not give back the result you are expecting nor are you ready for the outcome when the name of your old friend appears on your screen. I wasn’t prepared for this when I looked up an old friend of years gone by and saw the line “In memoriam Hrvoje Plešnik” on a website for Croatian chess players in Zagreb.

Farewell speech

If anyone can’t sit still now it’s no problem, I am sure he wouldn’t mind since he couldn’t sit still himself for a bloody moment. He was very proud of the fact that ADHD was not a disorder but a God given talent.

So, what is to say about the big man in front of us. Well, we all remember him as the inventor of the Prime Fraction, dividable only by itself and 0,1 and the numerous peculiar culinary concoctions he made us eat. He left us a number of Christmas Meal recipes, there are copies of his most famous ones on the desk at the entrance if you want some. His ability to create meals for the entire family including the adults and little nippers were however mostly based on the amount of sugar in the Sugo Casa and for which the recipes were given to him by an old Italian cook long ago, he said. And of course we must not forget he was a very keen Slow Motion Breast Crawler in holiday season times.

And than there was this strange obsession with England, where he lived for a brief period from 1989 to 1991 but of which he liked to think he was born there. He used to say he was geographically challenged and should have been born there if he would have been capable of setting things to his own hand at the time of birth. Leendert loved England with a passion. He used to be home sick most of the time and longing for those pints of bitter in local pubs in Norfolk, pub meals and he sincerely wanted to be with his English friends whenever he had a chance if not the lack of money prevented him from traveling back and forth. “Best of both worlds but all conveniently in one place” he used to say and off he went on the boat to Felixtowe.

Leendert (also known as Leon) was very fond of strange and peculiar things in life, he used to collect model trains but only from the 1959 – 1962 period as he claimed that before and after that there was no quality to be found in model railway material in OO and H0 scale. He also thought that the things he collected were of extreme high value and he charished them with care only suitable for new born babies. We all know of the porcelain deers on his desk and that they -so he claimed- were probably made by a French artist in the 1700’s and which his parents were so incredibly lucky to obtain at a car boot sale long ago. His night stand used to be full of weird collectibles which made him feel safe just knowing they were there.

Leendert used to write a lot, poems and little stories, a blog and an entire scala of captions for pictures he showed us. Most of the material can still be seen on his website for which he himself created the most traffic when he was still alive. He was a grumpy moper mostly, his stories usually not very happy and gloomy but gems of poems were shared with us on many occasions. So when we remember him it’s not hard to describe him, a fat, grumpy model train collector with many idiosyncrasies and odd hobbies. A writer, a poet, a visioneer. A lover, a culinary pioneer, a big hearted father, a dear friend. And for his enemies who might be present he has given me a special message which I cannot withhold from you all: “Up yours, this is the best spot in the room and I am not giving it up for you lot now.”