Len remembered

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Last updated on August 9th, 2017 at 10:37 am

Australian Time editor Steve Waterson celebrates his father-in-law, the late Len Evans:

One summer evening 15 years ago Len Evans grabbed a good bottle of burgundy and led me out to his veranda for the would-be son-in-law conversation. As the sun fell behind the Hunter Valley’s Brokenback range, we got to the part where he gauged my prospects. I was struggling with some banal career decision: one path boring but financially secure, the other much more interesting but relatively poorly paid. Seeking approval, I ventured that the sensible thing might be to go dull and safe. Len thought for a moment, turned to me and asked: “How many lives are you planning to have?”

US readers may not know of Len, a brilliant man whose quote above should compel you to read Steve’s entire piece. Other tributes from Anthony RoseMax AllenJeff Collerson, and Leo Schofield. And here you’ll find a picture gallery.

Posted by Tim B. on 08/23/2006 at 12:30 PM
    1. Mr. Evans sounds like a fascinating man who had the supreme good fortune to lead exactly the kind of life he wanted to lead. RIP. I shall raise a glass of Night Train Chateau Lafite in his honor.

      Posted by paco on 2006 08 23 at 12:53 PM • permalink


    1. Len Evans grabbed a good bottle of burgundy and led me out to his veranda for the would-be son-in-law conversation. As the sun fell behind the Hunter Valley’s Brokenback range

      there’s a joke in here somewhere…

      Posted by benson swears a lot on 2006 08 23 at 01:23 PM • permalink


    1. The last time my wife Sally and I saw him, the Sunday before he died, he and Trish called in on their way home from the airport. They’d eaten on the plane, but our seven-year-old decided to make him a sandwich. She tore holes in the bread with chunks of too-cold butter, stuck on a slice of ham and smeared the lot with enough hot English mustard to make a shark weep. Len ate it as though it were the finest dish ever offered to him, licked his lips and said, “Lucy, that was so delicious I simply have to have another.” She beamed with joy and triumph; it was an expression he made appear on many faces throughout his glorious life.

      There could be no better epitaph for any of us. Bravo, Mr Evans.

      Posted by Spiny Norman on 2006 08 23 at 01:41 PM • permalink


    1. I never heard of the man before, but should those I leave behind think half as well of me when I go, I believe I would be well pleased with my life.  He sounds like the kind of man to share a Lafite (or a Maddog 20/20) with.

      Posted by Not My Problem on 2006 08 23 at 02:02 PM • permalink


    1. I’ve heard the phrase, ” a life well lived”. That seems appropriate in this case. Rest in peace, and as the Irish would say to the family, “I’m sorry for your trouble”.

      Posted by Blue Hen on 2006 08 23 at 02:52 PM • permalink


    1. His wine and food column was called ‘Indulgence’, later ‘Overindulgence’.

      Who says a life of indulgence has to be short?

      Posted by David Morgan on 2006 08 23 at 09:33 PM • permalink


    1. Good for Len.  Sounds like a grand bloke.  My old man died earlier this year, far too young (only 63).  It gives you perspective.  Fuck the money and the status – live for love and joy.

      Posted by Bearded Mullah on 2006 08 24 at 03:30 AM • permalink


    1. I’m with the Bearded Mullah here.

      live for love and joy

      Len will be missed. A lovely bloke.

      Posted by kae on 2006 08 24 at 04:37 AM • permalink


    1. I used to read Evans’ columns and occasionally saw him on TV.
      A lot of readers may not be aware of the way Len Evans and a small group of others pretty much changed Australians’ attitude to wine and food and basically were responsible for the now large consumption of wine in Oz.
      He used to tell a tale of what it was previously like trying to enjoy wine in Australia. Along with ridiculous licensing laws such as one demanding that all alcohol in bottles and glasses be removed from restaurant and pub dining room tables by 8.00 pm. there was also a strong wowserish attitude to wine.
      My understanding is that he had come to Australia with the arse pretty much out of his strides and was labouring out in the backblocks, possibly in Queensland.
      He sat down to dinner in a pub dining room and while ordering asked if there was a wine list. The waiter/waitress – possibly wearing a blue singlet regardless of gender – looked him straight in the eye and said “what are you a poofter or something”?
      The alternative tag is that the waiter went off to the kitchen and as he walked through the door he said, loud enough for Evans to hear, “some poofter out here wants a fuckin’ bottle of wine”.
      Things have changed.

      Posted by hazza on 2006 08 24 at 09:59 AM • permalink


    1. The name rings bells, but makes no connection.

      However: Anyone who says “How many lives are you planning to have?”  In response to I think your daughter would be better on the safe road, should get a Facking Medal.

      Life is too short.

      Posted by The_Wizard_of_WOZ on 2006 08 24 at 03:35 PM • permalink


    1. #9 I recall a story that during WWII an Italian Prisoner of War was making good his escape through various Australian towns until he made the fatal mistake of stopping at a cafe and ordering wine with his meal. Times have changed.

      Posted by Margos Maid on 2006 08 24 at 07:52 PM • permalink


    1. I recall that when Len Evans opened his Rothbury Estate winery at Pokolbin (early 70’s?), the original shareholders had their dividends paid in “pick of the crop” bottles of wine from the winery.

      “Ex dividend” had a different and much jollier meaning in those days.

      Posted by Pedro the Ignorant on 2006 08 24 at 11:15 PM • permalink


    1. Tim,

      Never knew nor heard of the man but I wish I had. Thanks for sharing a great obit about a fine man.


      Posted by jimlowney on 2006 08 25 at 09:02 PM • permalink


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