Last week I went to the funeral of a friend in Yeovil, Somerset. Lily was a wonderful person and the crematorium was packed. Her husband, Graham James was a dear friend who, over nearly twenty years, built our house. He was known as The Stoneman and was an artist of great skill in building with stone. He also looked like Hagrid, a mountain of a man who, despite a previous incarnation as a bouncer in a Yeovil nightclub, was the gentlest and kindest of men. In all our dealings it would never have occurred to us to question any bill as he was a gentleman in every sense of that word. 

As a Somerset man he would genderise concepts that would normally have no gender - ‘it’ becomes ‘he’ or ‘she’.‘What’s happening?’ becomes ‘Where’s he to then?’ There was an unconscious sexism embedded too as perfectly illustrated one morning when, over breakfast, Graham told us about his car problems. 

‘My bloody car wouldn’t start this morning - so I kicked her - and he started.’

I miss them both.

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