I was going to talk about this year's Free Comic Book Day, but...
When I first moved house eleven years ago, I was given a couple of small sofas for the conservatory from a work colleague. All I had to do was pick them up and get them home. Simple; I hired a van, got them on board, and drove home. I'd had help getting them on, but trying to get them off by myself? It wasn't happening.
I heard a voice ask if I wanted a hand, which I did, so I accepted. I was surprised to see it was the old man from two doors down, and was tempted not to bother him. Turns out he was stronger than I (not hard) despite touching his 70's. Anyway, between us we got the sofas out and put where they were meant to be. We shook hands, and he told me his name was Harry. I told him I was Alister, although he'd call me Alex ever since. For some reason, that never mattered.
Over the years, Harry did much for me. He'd keep an eye on things while I was working away, take in my parcels of books when I wasn't around, gave us some of his home-grown veg, even let the cat lounge in the warmth of his greenhouse and - I suspect - put a saucer of milk down for her. When my good lady came to live here, he'd talk to her across the fences and she found out more about him in a few short months than I did in the years before. He'd been a shepherd in his younger years, used to the outdoors; this, for me, explained his resilience. Harry, I thought, would live forever.
Sadly, he died on Thursday. His health had its ups and downs over the last couple of years - more downs, unfortunately - and in the early stages of last week he was being kept alive by drugs and machines. We knew something was wrong the weekend before, when his family were dismantling the greenhouse in his garden.
Harry's dead now, and while we'll all miss him, he will live forever in our hearts, minds and memories. Whatever beliefs you have, I hope you'll join me in hoping he's gone to a better place, reunited with his loved ones. Maybe he's even looking down, reading this as I type, wondering why I never corrected him when he called me Alex.