Eleanor comes in to borrow some tea, brisk and businesslike as usual. She is as commanding in manner as she is inflexible in mind.  From an early age, it is evident, she has never let a new idea into her head nor an old one out.  She is a fortress of middle-class certainties.   Not only does she know what is good for her, she knows what is good for you, too.  She is, in a word, what Penny’s friend Margaret would call a Biffer, a species that in today’s climate of unprincipled self-indulgence is, except in a few backwaters such as our own, well on the way to extinction.  It is seven years now that she has lived in Love Lane since the death of her husband, the Colonel as she always calls him.  ‘As the Colonel used to say…’ is her constant refrain.  But these matter-of-fact, everyday references do not succeed in banishing his hovering shadowy spirit.  Always in the corner of her eyes one catches a glimpse of her dead doppelganger, who, in spite of his absence, will be lovingly with her always.  But she brushes off these metaphysical complexities. She is the kind of woman who has no time for nonsense. You can almost hear her saying, in another life in the court of Denmark, ‘Get over it Hamlet, pull yourself together, move on.’  ‘Get a job’, barks the invisible Colonel.


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