As I hurried along the street, through the miserable afternoon weather, somewhere between the Post Office and the supermarket, a text alert sounded in my pocket. I fumbled for the phone and saw that it was a message from First Born.
And so I learned of the passing from this world of a man that I had never met, yet who gave me, and millions of other folk, a way to cope with the frustrations of modern life and have a jolly good laugh along the way.
I stood on a rainy, windswept corner, staring at the words on the tiny screen, stunned at the news, but with the stark knowledge that this day was always going to come. The loss was palpable, the list of errands in my head forgotten. His presence in Tense Towers, as in so many homes I'd guess, takes the form of a bookshelf, a small homage to L-space and the literary giant he was.
Once, years ago, I did have the opportunity to meet the man. He was visiting our town to attend a book signing, the news greeted with much excitement in our wee abode. Unfortunately, my work colleague at the time was equally keen and only one of us could go. So Our Lass was conscripted to take First and Second Born along, which at least meant that I was able to have a book signed.
Discworld, supported by four huge elephants, all standing on the back of a gigantic space turtle. World and mirror of worlds, the canvas upon which Earth's humanity was gently, but piercingly, satirised. You know how some people have a way of looking at the world that just stops you in your tracks? A quirky, yet encyclopaedic, knowledge illuminated the people, villages, towns, cities and countries of a flat world in another fold of the multiverse. Through forty books, we came to know and love a cast of characters to such an extent, that I find myself wondering how they will cope with the sad news.
And above it all, the realisation that the great man has finally met his finest creation, the anthropomorphic personification that is Death. That gave me some comfort, a wry smile to soften the blow.
I didn't feel like cooking an evening meal, even less eating it. However, earlier in the day I had defrosted a packet of sausages, so we channelled the spirit of C.M.O.T. Dibbler and had them inna bun.
Farewell, Sir Terry Pratchett, saver of sanity, burster of bubbles and weaver of words.
Rest in peace.