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Tuesday 200 — #75

I’d been reminiscing with Peter, a long-lost University chum and recent inductee into our band of merry widowers. After a few sherries, I was a bit misty-eyed when I recalled scattering Katherine's ashes off the Cornwall coast. She adored the sea.

“Sorry to have missed the ceremony,” he said, raising his glass.

“Truth told,” I confessed, “‘twas a bit of a sham. I hadn’t been ready to let go, and the urn I emptied contained nothing more than a mixture of fireplace scrapings and the contents of our Hoover. Kathy’s still tucked away in the back of our bedroom closet. Our children would be apoplectic if they knew.”

Peter gave a knowing chuckle and told me about The Phoenix, a club he belonged to just off Cavendish Square. A dark-paneled townhouse, with cracked-leather sofas and disused fireplaces, its mantles and shelves were adorned with vases and urns of all shapes and sizes.

“It’s like a friendly mausoleum.” he said. “A lovely spot to meet friends or read the paper over a coffee and brandy.”

Turns out, I enjoy the smoking room the most, although you’re never exactly certain what, or who, is resting in those ashtrays.

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