While Denys Boshier is the first to admit that lockdown ‘does not make life pleasant’, he accepts the inconvenience is essential to deal with outbreaks of Covid-19 and he counts his blessings.
“We are lucky to be in New Zealand, in Auckland - and in a Ryman village,” he says, appreciating his fifth-floor view of Cornwall Park and the sheep roaming therein.
He comes from an impressive academic and scientific background – after attaining an MSc (first class honours) in Zoology, with his thesis gaining the highest mark awarded in NZ at the time, and a PhD in The Genetic Control of Mammalian Fertility, he dedicated his career to tertiary education.
He became a foundation academic member of the Massey University School of Veterinary Science and later, was an early appointee to the Pre-Clinical School of the newly-founded University of Auckland School of Medicine.
That did little to prepare him for life in a pandemic, however.
“I never entertained the possibility of such a thing. I was more interested in what was going on in the moment rather than what might happen,” he adds with a smile.
One highlight was when the Queen came in 1969 to officially open the school and during a tour she unexpectedly visited Denys’s class – while he was delivering his course in Human Reproduction and Development.
“I thought it was improper to change my timetable within the teaching programme just because the Queen was there,” he says.
Another delight for Denys is having a former student now serving as his GP, a task that could no doubt be intimidating for some.
“It’s fun. We try to help each other,” he says.
Retirement was almost as busy as his working life, becoming president of Probus New Zealand and an active member of U3A groups dedicated to New Zealand history and classical and pre-classical music.
Since health issues prompted a move into the village in November, he has had to live apart from his dear wife Diana, and the lockdown has made even visits impossible.
He is glad to have his love of music and reading history books to keep him entertained, and was surprised and delighted to renew a couple of old friendships in the village.
An old sailing friend turned up in the serviced apartment right next door and another resident used to be his lab technician at the Medical School.
“That was a wonderful surprise to find them both here and certainly made it feel more homely.
“But it hasn’t been difficult to make friends here, many of whom are among the wonderful caregiving and housekeeping staff. What a blessing they are.”