Came home from work today to find one of my neighbours had died. Not someone next door but a man I recognised from the top of the street.
Sometimes people just disappear and you never find out what happened to them. They just sort of fade out and then one day you think 'where is so and so, I haven't seen them in ages.
This chap was obviously different. Someone took the trouble to print up a death notice and stuff it through everyone's letter box. It's not clear who, but I'm glad they did.
I'd never have known Hans' name if they hadn't. And I'd have wondered why the plants that line his windows had gone and what had happened to all the bikes outside his door. And why wasn't he there in the morning anymore, fixing bikes or watering his begonias.
Once, when my bike had been stolen, and I found it dumped in the bike rack at the top of the street, Hans helped me get it up and running again. Ever since then, we've always said 'good morning' when I've cycled past on my way to work.