And finally…devil in the detail

In a rare case of hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia, councillors in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, have voted to adjust the price of cremation by £1 to avoid a rate of £666 which might startle the superstitious.

The figure resulted from the authority’s 2018-19 budget plan, prompting councillors to agree to the reduction to £665.

A report from the policy and resources committee stated: “As part of applying that standard inflation increase of 3 per cent to fees and charges for 2018-19, the cremation charges for adults aged 16 and over, has increased from £647 to £666. It’s unfortunate that the 3 per cent inflation has meant the charge is £666, which could be upsetting for some people. Members are asked to agree the charge is amended to £665 in 2018-19.”

The number 666 is mentioned in the Book of Revelation as being “the number of the Beast”. A strong aversion to the number is known as hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.

James Auld, owner of James Auld Funeral Directors in Helensburgh, told The Herald newspaper: “The price was one of the first things I noticed when the list came out. I think it is a good move to change it.”