The Life of Brian- Nov1937- Feb2005

Written on 2nd May 2005.

Brian was with us last Christmas, and a few weeks later his body shut down from Liver failure, brought on by a condition called 'Hemochromatosis' which is when excessive Iron builds up in the blood, damaging the liver, causing Diabetes, Arthritis & failure of the joints (he had both hips replaced, and was due to have a knee replaced). Brian had recently come back from a five month cruise around the Pacific, which he enjoyed immensely, but was feeling tired towards the end. 

Mawingo in Melbourne
There is no cure for  'Hemochromatosis' but it can be controlled by blood letting. In Brian's case the diagnosis was far too late, & during the five months away he did not have any blood taken off. I said that his body shut down because when I last saw him in Hospital he said "my body is shutting down, I don't want to die". When I said "see you soon", as one does, he replied "In a Box!". I have an open mind when it comes to spirits, but if Brian's spirit is up and about, it will probably be with his precious Yacht "Mawingo". That is why it is so important that "Mawingo" is taken by people who will sail extensively. Brian would not be happy to see his Yacht rusting away at some berth or other. He built "Mawingo" out of steel to a Dennis Ganley design.
Brian Eric Harvey Humphreys was born in Nakuru, Kenya, on 14th November 1937. We were living in the old house on the hill on Lomolo Sisal Estate at Kampi-ya-Moto in the Rift valley 30 miles North of Nakuru.
It was here that he was attacked by a pack of dogs belonging to the Estate owners, he had been a bit negative regarding dogs thereafter. When eating Brussels Sprouts, which he hated, he used to pretend that they were "Auntie Dunc's dogs". When Brian was older he developed an interest in ornithology & taxidermy (not to be confused with 'stuffing birds' which came later in life), and produced some very good specimens, in particular a Lilac Breasted roller.  Bill Bonson used to assist him. I was three years older than Brian and because I was shunted off to boarding school at the age of 8 he was a bit of a stranger to me.
I only saw him during school holidays and as I left home at the age of 15, hardly at all. Brian was sent to New Zealand to attend Massey University & when he returned I did not recognise him. By then I was living in Tanzania and only saw him when our holidays coincided. There were three occasions I remember, a trip to Iringa to see Brian & Betty just after they were married, I was on Railway construction at Mikumi at the time, a trip to Kitale when they were managing a farm, and a few days at Pangani on the Tanzania Coast. I left for Zambia in 1963 and didn't see him again until they arrived in New Zealand.
Tim-Littlehales-Brian-Paddy-Fox-at-Massey-Palmerston-north.jpg (117930 bytes)
At Massey
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In Iringa with Babs Campbell-Gillies

At Pangani
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At Bamburi

Brian bought a Yacht in Kenya and restored it, then Brian, Betty & their two daughters, Heather and Cathy sailed down the East Coast of Africa to Durban. In South Africa they worked & lived on a Sugar plantation at Stanga, North of Durban.

Brian also had an interest in Vintage cars, he restored an Invicta and a Lancia Lamda.



Invicta 1930 at Kitale.


Brian in his element.

Brian's notice
Brian's funeral was non religious and held at the crematorium in Whangarei. There was a wake at a local restaurant situated by the boat moorings  He had a lot of friends, including several lady sailing companions. One of them, Marylyn, said that Brian's spirit was there, bummer not being able to have a beer! Most of the organisation was done by Heather, and she did a very good job of it. 

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On his last trip to sea.

More pictures of 'Mawingo'.
"Mawingo" has a new owner and has been refurbished prior to a trip around the Pacific.

Mawingo at Brodie's Creek .JPG (58937 bytes) Mawingo haulout .JPG (38583 bytes) Mawingo haulout in Japan 2 .JPG (59325 bytes) Mawingo in fishing port 2 .JPG (68995 bytes) Mawingo in fog2.JPG (13272 bytes)
Mawingo in Melbourne 2 .JPG (54783 bytes) Mawingo on hard 2 .JPG (64821 bytes) Mawingo on hard .JPG (71518 bytes) Mawingo sailing .JPG (33364 bytes) Mawingo in Fog.JPG (12372 bytes)