Regular readers will remember we found out in April that our next-door neighbour Bob was dying of cancer. A week or so ago, the comings and goings next door increased dramatically, and my Paramour and I reckoned Bob's end was nigh.
Yesterday afternoon there was a knock on the front door. This is most unusual - all our friends use the back door, so I was expecting a salesperson, local politician or Jehovah's Witness. I found a young man I didn't recognise, with lank black hair and snaggle teeth.
'I'm Simon, from next door,' he said.
Uh-oh, I thought, as I greeted him politely.
'My dad died this afternoon.'
Isn't it odd how, even when it's expected, it's still a shock? Simon was pale and looked as if he needed a hug and a cup of hot sweet tea. We chatted briefly - I expressed condolences and thanked him for letting us know, and we shared our concern about how Pam will manage. Simon told me he now lives in a city 40 miles from here, but his brother and sister still live in our town (I knew Pam and Bob had at least one son, possibly two, but had no idea they had a daughter). I asked Simon to let us know when Bob's funeral will be held.
After Simon left, it occurred to me that they might want family only at the funeral. Pam has some rather famous relatives, who don't seem to have much to do with her. Bob and Pam hardly ever have visitors, and I don't often hear their phone ring. The Famous Relatives don't live round here, but there have been Sightings in the local supermarket in recent days. If the time and date of the funeral is made public, I suspect some people might go along to gawp at Famous Relatives. Which is a bit rubbish, as even famous people have feelings, and are I think entitled to privacy at such times. Although it did make me laugh when Katie 'Jordan' Price and Peter Andre asked for privacy. But Pam's relatives are famous for doing difficult things well, not for surgical enhancements and appearing on 'reality TV' (an oxymoron if ever I heard one). (I'm not giving names of Famous Relatives here, for obvious reasons. If your curiosity gets the better of you, drop me an email.)
Anyway, I've taken a card and a bunch of flowers round to Pam. I didn't see her - all the curtains were closed, but the dog barked when I pushed the card through the letterbox, and the flowers disappeared from the doorstep fairly fast, so I reckon she was in - drowning her sorrows, maybe? I wrote in the card, again, that we're only next door and she's welcome to call on us if she needs company or practical help. I suspect I'd be providing the former, and my Paramour the latter, as those are, essentially, our skillsets. But I doubt Pam will call on us. I may be wrong, but I suspect she will move away fairly soon. I had heard, through a mutual acquaintance, that she was trying to interest Bob in moving to a bungalow last year, because the house had become too big for them to manage. To be honest, I won't be sorry if she goes. But I do wish she could find some happiness.