Hobart is a pugnacious, yet lovable rogue, who manipulates his long suffering nephew into numerous tricky situations; including, hunting an ostrich with a smelly sock, visiting France in a home made balloon, exploding the farm's best cow, and shooting the world's only homing pig. Hobart is the kind of man that you like to meet, but can't wait to walk away from.
I was standing by the edge of the cliff, gazing out over the turbulent sea pounding at the rocks below. The frothy waves seemed hungry as they clawed their way up the cliff-face towards me. Tentacles of cold spray wrapped themselves around my legs and I shivered, hunching my shoulders against the wind as I walked back towards the graveyard.
The last sleek limousine waited with its back door agape. Bending forward, I slid into its warm interior beside Uncle Hobart. He was huddled into the corner of the brown leather seat and glanced over at me as I settled back with a sigh.
"They've gone on," he said.
"Right." I nodded, my thoughts still back with the sea. A shiver ran down my spine. "God, I think someone's just walked over my grave!"
Uncle Hobart threw me a guarded look and my face reddened. I sniffed, looking out of the window to hide my embarrassment. The rows of gravestones I saw didn't help my composure any.
"So, yer staying fer long then?"
I shook my head. "No, I'm going back tomorrow." Rubbing condensation from the window with my sleeve, I stared out at the light-dappled grass, adding quietly, "I only came up for the funeral."
As the limousine moved out of the church grounds and into the narrow country lane, we sat silently, both preoccupied with our thoughts. The wind eased and the sun broke through the clouds, flickering between the trees. I felt a headache building-up behind my left eye. Uncle Hobart fidgeted himself into a more comfortable position.
"Didn't know 'im too well, did yer?" he asked.
I turned and studied him for a moment. His hands twisted back and forth on the carved handle of his walking stick. They were hard, strong hands; a farmer's hands. He was well into his seventies and still worked the farm. Removing a cloth-cap, he scratched his balding head and clicked his dentures - a habit that annoyed me intensely.
"Funny old bugger 'e were," he said.
I raised my gaze to his faded blue eyes, arching my eyebrows.
"They used ter call 'im Jonah. Be'ind 'is back, like."
"That right?" I asked, only half listening.
He glanced out the window, nodding slowly, as though trying to remember something.
"And why did they call him Jonah, then?” It was more politeness than interest on my part.
Uncle Hobart turned his weathered face towards me, pursing his lips.
"No, really," I insisted. "Do tell."