There's something unique about English woodland mud. That rich black of decomposing leaf mould is found almost nowhere else, I think it stems from the constant spring rain. Have you ever noticed how last year's leaves remain on the ground from November to April, then suddenly they're gone a week later, pulverised by emerging worms and spat out as soil into the April rain.
As I crossed the churchyard a tiding of magpies was congregated around a single grave – a gaggle of waiters expecting a large gratuity. I ambled over to the grave – that of Ernest Quentin Slinn 1963- 2008, It wasn't the long-buried corpse of Quentin the birds were interested in but the body of the man propped up against the headstone, the arteries on his wrists cut lengthwise and propped open with matchsticks as if in a grim ritual to raise the dead.
"All right?" I gave an upward nod to the ghost sat on the gravestone, swinging his legs like a child on a too-high sofa.
"Apart from that." He jerked his head toward the fresh corpse. "That'll teach me to get drunk."
I sighed and nodded. "Dead drunk."