Last night was the end of the world, according to the Mayan calendar, I went to an End of the World party at Summerhall which was an intriguing journey through various tales of the apocalypse, meditations on endings that were unsettling, mournful and beautiful in equal parts.

This morning I went into town early and outside the church at the end of Princes Street, a hearse was waiting for the end of a service. I thought how sad it is for people to lose someone close to them at this time of year. How difficult it must be to fight your way through all the flashing lights and tinsel and the torture of Cliff Richard singing shit Christmas songs when the time of year reminds you of what you have lost, and the sadness associated with it, making this enforced glee all the more difficult to deal with.

Half an hour later, my mum called me to tell me that my aunt had died suddenly in the night. She was still reeling from the news. I was in a café having breakfast. I was then reeling from the news. They gave me a brandy. I drank it. It was 10.30 am.

This is the same aunt who was the star of the Great Easter Egg Robbery, I wrote of in my last post. She wrote to me only a handful of weeks ago to say how strange it had been to re-watch these old films and look so far back into her own past.

She was always healthy and active; hill walking in the Yorkshire Dales or doing long distance hikes like the Santiago de Compostella. She was also the most ardent all-weather swimmer on our family holidays in Wales.

My aunt was bright, she was intelligent and she was creative. She was often mistaken for Helen Mirren, both being stylish and elegant women of a certain age. She always had strong political opinions and was even known to smoke the occasional cigar in the past! I was full of awe and admiration. Still am.

Whether or not she chose to live and leave us according to the Mayan calendar is uncertain, but what is certain is that the world is a little emptier and this time of year a lot sadder without her.

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