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My aunt’s funeral proceeded with one or two unexpected revelations—if you took the minister’s remembrance at face value, that she worked with Burgess and MacLain, you began to wonder if she was really the fifth man. It was good to meet and chat with the cousins, although L’s conversation rather put me off—she diagnosed some of the guests to me, telling me, for example, that an elderly church worker had bowel cancer and would probably die within a couple of weeks.

We have all agreed to meet up annually or thereabouts, with something happening in the north in the summer.

T was feeling rather down on the Sunday night when I arrived, and wanted to chat with me because I’d had been through something similar. I couldn’t say no, so ended up drinking about eight pints of rather awful Beamish on an empty stomach, leaving the bar at 3am, spending more time that night in the bathroom than in my bed, so feeling dreadful for the funeral—simply conforming to my existing reputation, it seems. Oh well—it was probably apt considering my aunt’s lifestyle!

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