The 92 year old godfather of the New Zealand book industry was in remarkably good spirits considering his major health problems, including pneumonia and a hairline fracture of the skull, when I called in to see him this afternoon.
I gave him an update on the recent Booksellers Conference in Christchurch and talked trade matters going all the way back to to 1968 when I first entered the book world and at which time he was the Publisher at AH & AW Reed, then NZ's most significant (by a country mile) book publisher. Later of course he was the foundation Executive Director of BPANZ before then going to to establish NZ's largest and most successful literary agency.
He is a tough old bugger as many who have had to negotiate with him over the years will know (!) and even with all his significant health woes he was still able manage an occasional smile and to have a conversation with me. As a result I went away feeling much better than I had expected I would.
Any friends or former colleagues who may wish to visit Ray should check first with daughter Nicky Richards who can be phoned or texted on 021 598 725.
Should you wish to drop Ray or Barbara a note their postal address is 49c Aberdeen Road, Castor Bay, North Shore, Auckland 0620.