“When did it happen?”
“Last week. Monday.
“She’d felt off on the Saturday, but thought nothing of it. So she soldiered on.
“Truth is, she should have realised from the time before.”
“Where was she?”
“By the canal. Just off Slipper Street I think. Jim came over to tell me, but he wasn’t very clear himself.
“I told her last month to be careful, but she would never listen.
“And now there’s the six of them kids to see to.
“Six! I never realised she had six.”
“Well, there were the two from his first marriage, of course. She just up and left him with them. Never saw her again.”
“That’s right, went off to Greece in ’67 and found herself a waiter. Summer of love or something.
“So I don’t know how they’ll manage now.
“There’ll be arrangements to make as well, of course. We’re going to help with the food. Just sandwiches. Quiche, maybe. She liked Chianti, so we’ll most likely toast her with that. Them little round bottles, in raffia. She had it on holiday in Sorrento and always had some in the house.
“Her Eric will come over from Bratislava. Don’t know if he’ll bring that little piece with him though. She’s flighty that one is. Eric should have known better. In the family way within week, I heard.”
“Are there any other family?”
“Dunno. I suppose we’ll find out on the day. Father Jensen will do the service, but I hope he speaks clearly. I can never understand half of what he says.
“Then the crematorium in Bagstock and back to their place. I never like that though.
“I prefer a pub. Something away from the home. I’m not very good in other people’s houses. You never know how clean they are.
“His eldest girl will help her Dad, of course. She’s 16 going on 26, for me. He’s going to have to keep an eye on her, I reckon.
“She’s already been seen down the backs with that greasy lad of the Marks’s. He’ll have his hands down her pants in a minute if she don’t watch out.”
“Will there be an autopsy?”
“Nah. I don’t think so. What with the fags and the diabetes and the blood pressure. It was pretty likely sometime. It’s just a bit earlier than some might have thought.
“A week on Tuesday, my Derek said he expected her to croak. One look from me told him that wasn’t right. Making fun of the departed. Soon shut him up.
“That’s a funny old doorbell you have.”
“It’ll be Jenny from the butchers. She has a leg of lamb for me. I’ll have to go.”
“Mind yourself on the step.”
“Aye. You too. And that cat.”