Wednesday 9 September

To Chorlton Village, sitting within Strangest Bar, though it’s never too odd to have Jill’s company over several yards of ale, or metres of wine in her case. But while old times would normally be danced around, tonight there is no skirting from the present and the recent loss of her Mum, Sandy. An independent, strongly-humoured woman, living alone in the ferocious Welsh borderlands, it is with heavy pen that I note down the songs she chose for her service, enabling me to remember her via a host of heroines on phonograph later this week; but it is with pride and a smile, and no disrespect to my own family’s choice of path, that I listen to how Jill and her siblings arranged for Sandy the first humanist funeral conducted in Llangollen that anyone can remember, to the chagrin of the local Vicar. As ever tragedy and comedy aren’t too far apart and the evening ends with my fingers jammed into Jill’s shell-likes while she swallows iced water backwards – the only known cure for her indiscriminate hiccups, and my sincere helplessness.

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