Not one of you, I suspect, has ever had occasion to visit Dukinfield, just outside the city of Manchester in the cold North of England. My advice is don't go there at all. But if you have to - wrap up very well indeed.
Dukinfield is the bleakest venue at this time of year. Right now the local casket makers are preparing for a rush. Dukinfield's wet and windy climate always guarantees a booming harvest of sudden, permanent departures. And the most popular method of dispatch is via Dukinfield's ancient crematorium, the chapel of which is block-booked by sad mourners sniffling and shivering in the wintry gloom.
It has always been this way. Dukinfield folk apparently prefer to face their maker with the congregation of bereaved faithfully freezing. So cold is the chapel that eager undertakers hover in the entrance just in case the arctic temperature may deliver new clients.
But, at long last, things are beginning to change. The grim-faced town hall officials who run this crematorium have finally relented. Soon Dukinfield's chilly chapel will be basking. It could be warm enough to take your hat and coat off in order to remember Dear Uncle Albert or Beloved Cousin Violet as they go up the chimney next door.
Indeed, if it wasn't for Uncle Albert and Cousin Violet, this radical change in Dukinfield life wouldn't be happening at all. Because the cremator is being been linked up to a series of pipes -- and so Dukinfield's funeral flames will soon be bringing a rosy glow to the cheeks of the bereaved at no cost to the taxpayer whatsoever. It's a very British solution to global warming.
By Ed Boyle