Shortly after landing at Zaventum I learned of the sudden and unexpected death early the previous day of John Hellon, a founder member of my writers’ workshop and a good friend. In a long life, John had seen most of the world and lived in many parts of it. After (active) military service in the Korean War he had worked as a Swiss-based tour guide, a London-based advertising man and a Brussels-based business man. In between, there had been trips to Africa and the Caribbean and the Far East and a house in Mexico and an Italian wife and son before realising his true sexuality and ‘coming out’. John had a passion for cooking. He wrote a number of cookbooks, including a big hit with The Blue Elephant Cookbook: Royal Thai Cuisine. For many years he wrote an authoritative restaurant column for a local magazine, The Bulletin. (His guacamole, last tasted by me just before Christmas, was simply delicious!) A tall man, with erect stature,a booming voice and his tell-tale ‘ooh-la-la!’ (delivered ironically), John always told things as they were – or as he thought they were. His fortnightly exercises for the workshop would often involve wistful reminiscences about buildings and places that had known better times, combined with a choice quotation based on his compendious knowledge of Hollywood films, tunes and lyrics. He had a wide circle of friends and acquaintances. Here’s what John Boyle (another founder workshop member) said on Facebook: “Farewell John Hellon. One of the few who really was ‘larger than life’ in every way. Outspoken, often outrageous, gregarious, generous – a marvellous host. One thing is sure: ‘il n’est pas passé inapercu.'” Just last year John completed a manuscript, entitled The Paper Museum, made up of autobiographical reminiscences triggered by particular objects or images. We must now make sure he lives on through the publication of his museum.