AFTER working in the elevator industry for more than 30 years, James Woodcock retired to look after his wife who had been battling lung cancer for six years.
With some extra time on his hands, the 66-year-old decided to write his memoirs.
“It soon became apparent to me that my life had been comparatively dull so I decided to write a novel set in the 19th century using names of some of my ancestors and my own experiences from my early years in the Royal Navy,” Mr Woodcock said.
However, he is now hoping that his book An Ignominious Beginning will provide a much-needed income for him.
“In August last year, my wife felt well enough to go on a holiday to Bali and the doctors gave their consent.
“Barbara loved Bali but we had only been there three days when she became ill.”
The Wanneroo resident said they were advised to go to hospital and three days later, it was confirmed the cancer was back and growing rapidly.
“The doctors would not release her to fly home without a doctor, a nurse and an air ambulance,” he said.
“Because the illness was pre-existing, we were not covered by our insurance and the worry of it all was making me ill too.
“It was decided I would fly home to get the money together to bring Barbara home and pay the hospital fees.
“I had to withdraw $84,000 out of my super pension to cover everything.
“Barbara was flown home on a Saturday night under sedation and she did not come around until the Tuesday night.
“I was at choir singing when I received a call from Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital to say she had woken up.
“I drove to the hospital and Barbara waved to me as I came into ICU.
“She could not speak well with the tubes in her.”
Three days later, Barbara died.
Mr Woodcock says he “does not want sympathy or handouts but a fair assessment of my novel which, if successful, will give me more independence from government assistance”.
An Ignominious Beginning was launched at the Wanneroo Library in July.