The in-laws have had their dog put to sleep. We went to see them this morning and it seemed to me they were cheerier than they've been in ages. The dog, who was blind, diabetic, confused and scrofulous, had become a huge burden. My mother-in-law said she was still seeing him out of the corner of her eye (well you do, don't you?) And then she added that she'd been told the dead are allowed to hang around the living for a fixed time (was it two weeks, she said, or three?) before they go to their own place- a belief I haven't come across since I read it as a child in Lord Halifax's Ghost Book- where it's attributed to a 19th century Irish groom. Ailz says her mother probably got it from "old Mrs Brennan of Magharafelt" with whom she lived in the 1930s.