Like so many Australians I never met Bill Leake and yet he has been an integral part of my daily life for at least ten years.
One of the first things I do when I get up each morning is go out and bring The Australian newspaper in off our lawn. I take off its clear plastic wrapper, smooth out the tubular shape it has taken on and place the folded paper in front of my chair at the dining room table.
Then, as I go for my morning walk, flush out the coffee machine, clear the dishwasher, make my toast, I wonder what has been happening out in the wider world. Murder and mayhem, fashion shows and farming, power bills and politics are waiting there within the unrolled pages of the daily paper. As I wade through the gory details I find myself anticipating my favourite page and wondering what Bill Leake’s take on today’s news will be? Profound, funny – often both at once – I look forward to being amused, enlightened, entertained and filled with admiration for the remarkable skill and insightful perception that Bill managed to contain in that rectangular space at the top right hand corner of the ‘letters’ page.
Vale Bill Leake. You will be sadly missed every morning.