All day Sunday and Monday morning the Met Office, along with countless news bulletins on TV and radio, warned us against travelling: we were due a huge storm with buckets of rain and mighty winds. But Jan and I had to travel on Monday afternoon: there was an event we simply could not miss, not on any account. At the Robin Hood Crematorium in Solihull our friend’s body was to face its final days on earth in its physical form.
Joel Lane died almost a month ago. The post mortem was inconclusive – but Joel had been suffering from ill health for some time, including diabetes and, recently, sleep apnoea. But despite these ailments, to die at the youthful age of just 50 was simply wrong.
Photo of me and Rod Rees by Nelli Rees
Friday the thirteenth…
To be precise, Friday 13 December, 2013: Jan and I hauled two suitcases of Alchemy Press books down to London from our home in North Staffordshire in order to launch the signed, limited edition of Invent-10n by Rod Rees at the British Fantasy Society’s Christmas Open Night. Naturally we took other titles to sell – every penny helps with the Press’s finances for future projects.
For the train journey I took Regicide by Nicholas Royle as my reading matter; it is a story of identity, among other things. In it the protagonist, Carl, wanders strange, unidentifiable streets in London, streets that should be familiar to him.
On leaving the Tube at Bank we started walking down Lombard Street, which meets up with the Gracechurch Street/Fenchurch Street junction – the venue for the evening, The Elephant, is located in Fenchurch Street. Only, it didn’t happen like that. We ended up at Monument Tube station, emerging from King William Street. Further from our destination. At that moment I felt a little like Carl in Regicide. That should have alerted me to later events.