When Lucy was nine she had to go to her grandmother's house on Fridays because her father and Julie always kept the shop open until after her bedtime. She didn't mind. Gran collected her from school and walked her back to the Terrace (unless it was raining, in which case they took a taxi). As a treat, Gran took her to the restaurant of her choice on the way home, though Lucy quickly learned to avoid burger bars because they gave Ada wind.
Lucy's favourite meal was fish and chips eaten outdoors either in the park, where the ducks would snuffle around their feet, or in the graveyard shielded from the busy streets by a great hedge of yew trees.
Wherever they ate, Gran pretended there were people there with them. "Why good evening Mr. Blunt," she'd say. "Have you met my grand-daughter Lucy? Harold's girl. You remember Harold?" or "I'll eat with my fingers if I like, Mrs. Pemberton, and never mind about social graces. I'm old enough to enjoy it and who cares if it makes my fingers smell of fish?"
Such conversations made Lucy giggle, but her father was not amused when she invited another of her Gran's 'friends' home for tea. He called her downstairs looking quite cross and spoke to her so sharply she had to pinch her arm to stop herself crying.
"Why did you invite Father Brande to tea?" he hissed. "I didn't even like him when he was alive!"
Image: 'Conversing Ghosts' by James Tafel Shuster