Bill died a two weeks later.

He died bravely. The nursing staff told me he had undergone a lot of unnecessary pain rather than call them before the pain got out of hand. He didn’t want to make a nuisance of himself.

The nurses loved him and some cried when he died. Two days before he died one of them drove up to the pie shop at Collaroy to get buy his favourite – a basic mince pie. The lady who cleaned his house cried all the way through her cleaning. Everybody either liked him or loved him. He was a gentleman.

The private hospital owner and his people waved a magic wand so that Bill’s last days could be as comfortable as it was possible to be under the circumstances.

It was hard to believe he had gone. His watch and leather manbag were still on the dresser, his precious vintage Merc Miss Daisy was still in the carport and his battered Akubra on the back table.

Seemingly, nothing had changed.