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“Where’s Sailor Jack?” asks the question of where do we go when we die, apart from into ashes or dust. Is there a life after death? My Mum died on October 6th, just three months short of her hundredth. “A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas,” wrote St Matthew quoting Jesus. Biblical exposition sees the reference to Jonas, in the whale’s belly for three days, as an allegory for Jesus’ three days in the tomb. Maybe though he was joking about swallowing a far-fetched story whole.

It took thirteen years exactly for my Dad to get in touch, with the repeated cricket miracle of the five clean-bowled wickets. A simplified version in the novel is based on two real events involving my Dad and my youngest son George, who is fifty years younger than me. Just after the war, my Dad clean-bowled five batsmen in five balls to win a match. On the thirteenth anniversary of Dad’s death, playing for Aldenham School Under Fifteens, George clean-bowled four batsmen to do the same. I joked that he hadn’t done as well as his Granddad. The next day, playing for his club team Cockfosters against Winchmore Hill, he bowled their opening bat first ball.

It’s taken my Mum only 36 days. When I was very small, in my cot I would get hold of my bottle by the teat, swing it around, the teat would come off and there would be milk everywhere. I’d then look over the bars of the cot and say, “Oh Bon.” I couldn’t say John yet, but was mimicking my Mum telling me off. Anyway yesterday, I was on my Twitter account (@JohnRUttley if you’re interested) when appearing bang in the middle of my front screen was the word OHBON. Three tweets down from the top, Twitter put on suggested sites and sponsored items. OHBON are a fashion jewellery company in Colorado. I don’t think a targeted ad would have picked me out, so I’m assuming it’s my Mum’s commentary on my life to date! There no doubt will be another explanation why OHBON hit my screen, but this one is too good to miss. Life is full of dualities, or is it dual aspect monisms?

Who says you can’t swallow a whale whole?