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An all too common problem, though.

A couple of years back, a friend dropped dead while collecting for Oxfam, a side-effect of a heart which always troubled him in both its literal and metaphorical senses.

We went to his funeral, where the priest spoke warmly about how we might like to think of him "riding his bike, which he enjoyed so much." This puzzled us - we hadn't even been aware he owned a bike.

It turned out the only people he'd spoken to had been his mother and brother, from whom our friend had been estranged and not spoken to in over a decade. They, struggling to tell the vicar something of his life, had very little to go on. They'd seen a bike in the hallway of the building he lived in, and so had offered this.

It belonged, we suspect, to someone else in the building.

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April 2009

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