Reunions in Australia and New Zealand 2019
One of the joys of academic medicine is keeping up with prior trainees and colleagues, and admiring their own upward journeys. I am lucky to have alumni in many countries. Marion and I were glad to catch up with friends in Australia and New Zealand in February/March, where it is late summer/early fall, and certainly warmer than in South Carolina. We started in Sydney with good friends Tim and Susy Heap.
Tim was my very first overseas fellow in 1975, at the Middlesex Hospital in London, and we have been privileged friends ever since. We much enjoyed being with them in their beautiful home in Mossman, overlooking the harbor, and admiring their large and growing family. And of course another visit to the awesome Sydney fish market.
We then moved to Bowral, about 2 hours from Sydney, the birthplace of Don Bradman (everybody knows that he was the best ever cricket batsman) to attend Sue Edwards’ 60th birthday party. Husband Paul spent a year in ERCP training with me at Duke University (Durham, NC).
They were in our wedding there in 1991; they and their special family are dear to us. The party at their lovely farm was sensational in many ways, well M’Ced by Luke and topped with a speed painting of Sue, and a less impressive one of us!
A three-hour flight took us to New Zealand, first to Napier, in lovely Hawke’s bay, to meet with Carolyn Davison, Oliver and Anna. They had moved there from northern England only a year ago. Carolyn is a hero of mine, a senior GI nurse in the NHS with many talents, who has already risen to be Nurse Lead of the New Zealand Endoscopy Quality Improvement program. A dinner talk at Craggy Range winery (why not), then a short tour of the new GI unit with Malcolm Arnold. Impressive!
Then to Auckland, to team up with Linda “Bobbie” Robert, another long-time friend and (very) competitive golfer. Bobbie founded and ran a successful medical instrument company (OBEX). We first met her more than 20 years ago in Auckland with Don and Minda Wilson, because she was handling devices made by the Wilson-Cook company that I was using in conference demonstrations. She has a beautiful house on Langs beach about 2 hours north of Auckland
Happily the house is close to the new Tom Doak golf masterpiece, Tara Iti.
Glorious course and scenery, I won’t mention the score (you may guess whether for modesty or embarrassment). Doak has designed several other top 100 courses in the world that we have been lucky to play: Pacific Dunes at Bandon Dunes in Oregon; Barnbougle Dunes in Tasmania; Cape Kidnappers in New Zealand. Golfers may wish to explore their web sites and drool.
Then a short flight down to Queenstown in the South Island with Bobbie to stay at Millbrook Resort, joined by the Edwards for great community, food, wine and more lovely golf (courses). Jacks Point is a favorite. The whole area is stunningly beautiful.
Back to Sydney to speak at the “Sydney International Endoscopy Symposium”.
This was its 12th year, superbly run by master endoscopist Michael Bourke, with extraordinary case demonstrations. Endoscopy has taken a leap forward in the last few years (since I hung up my scope), and is now exploring techniques and places that I always tried very hard to avoid (the “third space”). And, another opportunity to spend time with the Heaps and Edwards, and another lovely couple, Tony and Michelle Clarke. Tony was the main GI man in the capital city, Canberra, until retiring a few years ago. He escaped training with me, but they have also been longtime friends and have travelled (and golfed) with us in many countries, along with others of the “southern gang”. On this trip we missed June and Bernie Laurence (Middlesex 1975), and Geoff and Diney Gibson, but were able to chat by phone. We were also able to reminisce with John Inder, a retired surgeon in the Marlborough wine country of New Zealand. John and I were resident doctors together in England in 1965, at an iconic hospital in Leamington Spa, famous for its Roman baths. The hospital was called “The Warneford Hospital and Bathing Institution” (honest), but a German bomb had previously altered its façade, so that it was only labelled“….and Bathing Institution” when we were there. I learned a lot, but there was not much bathing. Happy days.
I hope you have the impression that Marion and I are very fond of this lovely part of the world, and our many special friends. We come every year and certainly hope to continue a while. It is a very long way, but well worth the effort. We are lucky people.