What is it like to work in a mortuary? Nothing like you'd expect, actually . . .
Michelle Williams is young and attractive, she has close family ties as well as a busy social life - but she is far from usual. She is a mortuary technician and her job involves dealing with those things in life that many people do not wish to experience directly.
Yet life in the mortuary is neither gruesome nor sad. Told with good humour and common sense, we are introduced to a host of characters - the pathologists, many of them eccentric, some downright mad; the undertakers, the hospital porters and the man from the coroner's office who sings to Michelle every morning.
The incidents too ensure that no two days are ever the same. From the tragic to the hilarious they include:
The fitness fanatic who was run over as he did pressups in the road on a dark night
The decapitated motorcyclist
The guide dog who led his owner on to the railway tracks - and left him there
The forty stone man for whom an entire refrigerated lorry had to be hired because he wouldn't fit in the mortuary cooler
Over the course of her first year Michelle has to deal with situations and emotions that few of us will ever experience, and does so while retaining a sense of humour and a sense of perspective.
I was born in Cheltenham in 1973. I have lived in Cheltenham all my life and continue to do so. I was educated at local state schools. I had a solid upbringing, and started working for the NHS when I was twenty years old, two years as a health care assistant and then eight years as a senior health care assistant for people with learning disabilities and challenging behaviour in community homes.
At the age of thirty, ten years on, I was lucky enough to land the role of Anatomical Pathology Technician at Cheltenham General Hospital, and now, five years on, hold the title of mortuary manager at Cheltenham General Hospital after succeeding in the certificate and diploma exams from the Royal Institute of Public Health in Anatomical Pathology Technology, this giving me the letters CAPT and DAPT after my name.