Reassuringly, almost all undertakers and their staff are much cheerier than you might think. Laughter is a very necessary safety valve for them. Remember, these are people who know what a quirky and sudden thing death is. They are reminded of it every day. They feel disturbed when someone their own age dies, just as you would be. They are deeply affected by the death of a child, just like you.

Because their work can sometimes be unpleasant—working for the coroner means stretchering out suicides, picking up long-dead derelicts from empty buildings—they tend to have an overdeveloped sense of humour. They can easily conceal their cheeriness beneath a pall of velvet sorrow.

When you’re not looking, their ribaldry would surprise and possibly delight you. Possibly not. Put a drink in their hands and they’ll let down their hair with the best of them.

Dealing with death all day every day teaches you to keenly appreciate being alive.