G came back from college at lunchtime with the sad and shocking news that a colleague had died at the weekend. N fits in that awkward category between acquaintance and friend. I actually knew his ex-wife much better and at one time was quite friendly with his mother-in-law, who ran the local book shop. In fact I knew J (bookshop owner) long before her daughter and new husband N moved from Cornwall to live in town. N was a Buddhist and ran a small local Buddhist group, which I could hardly ever get to because they met on Thursday evenings when I always teach an evening class, but I did manage to get to some of the talks he organised, given by a Buddist monk who spends part of his time in India at a monstry and the rest of the year in Britain.
N taught Religious Education at the local college and was also involved with the child care lecturing. He and his ex-wife were on excellent terms and they have a delightful daughter between them. S must be 11 or so now. The death came as a particular shock because he must be 15 years younger than we are. Cause of death is not yet known.