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Here are a couple of anecdotes both told to me and both giving an insight into a relationship.Names have been changed.

1. Jill usually went to bed before John got back from the pub.That was the routine and one which they both accepted.It worked well except for one part of it. Jill always knew when John was back from the pub because she’d hear the downstairs door slam. This was followed by his footsteps as he climbed the stairs.At this point her body started to go rigid, waiting for the moment when he would come into the bedroom and started to get undressed as he always did. By this time she was stiff with anticipation.And why? Because every night- without fail – he would take off his trousers and throw them across the end of the bed where her feet were.

“This is the one thing that drives me mad,” she said and I knew it would have driven me mad too.Every night week in week out…door slams, footsteps on the stairs, trousers off and then wham! They’re thrown across her feet. So awful was this inevitable action that I never thought to ask why on Earth she didn’t ask John not to do it.

In any case , they separated soon afterwards.

2 there’s a funeral in the village church and we all sing what were the words of the favourite hymn of the departed- a dear old soul who had been our neighbour.The final lines was :”You in your small corner and me in mine.”

Afterwards we stiff outside chatting.It was a cold afternoon in February and Judy, now retired from running the village post office, pulled her fur coat round her. “I left Jim in bed with the paper but I told him you wait, the funeral will be over by three and then I’m coming right back so you keep that bed warm.”

I was surprised to find myself slightly shocked that a middle-aged couple should climb into their warm bed at three in the afternoon. But of course it wasn’t really shock: it was envy.

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