Just found out something upsetting. Veteran journalist and blogger Bernie Slattery has died.
I never met Bernie face to face, or even spoke to him on the phone. But he was one of the first bloggers I made contact with when I started blogging myself back in about 2003.
As well as being a wry, witty writer, he was extremely helpful. When I was starting out I remember being flummoxed about how to put links to other blogs on mine. So I asked him how to do this in an e-mail. He didn't need to answer the question himself. Could have just pointed me to a help article or forum thread or something. But he replied with comprehensive instructions that solved my problem.
Over the years I had numerous enjoyable conversations with Bernie via e-mail and in blog comments. I also had a silly OTT leftie character that would troll him. He enjoyed playing along with the gag.
If you look at his blog you'll see he's got a kind face and a twinkle in his eye. That photo certainly captured the spirit that came across loud and clear in all my communication with him. So it's really sad to hear that he has passed away at the comparatively young age of 65.
That said, I'm absolutely sure he lived his life well, with grace and humour, and had a positive effect on many people's lives. So there is some consolation in that.
My deepest sympathies go out to his friends and family.