Lokshen – Jewish vermicelli

The alarm was set for 6.15 a.m. but none of us slept.
B was up first, then Gods Gift fell out of bed.
I had set out my funereal garb the night before but changed my plans when I felt the temperature. It was absolutely freezing.
The three of us left the flat and bumped into Simba the golden labrador and Paul. ‘You’re up early’ said Paul brightly.
‘We’re off to a funeral’ I said and tickled the dogs head.
We climbed into Jim’s car and set off just after 7.00

We arrived in Boreham Wood at 7.50 the traffic was kind even if the cold wasn’t. My mother provided us with eggs on toast and mugs of hot tea.
Then it was up the hill to my brothers. People were already assembled in his house – his house without his wife.
The guy from the funeral parlour, took off his hat and came and talked to us. Told us how to drive in convoy then seated seven of the family in the Rolls Royce limo.
We left at 9.00 promptly. Travelling at 30 miles-an-hour behind the Hearse and the coffin of my sister-in-law. She was lying inside the oak box wearing her white suit, lipstick, painted toenails and the ‘Lokshen’ coat she loved.
When her eldest son, aged 8 at the time, got lost in Brent Cross shopping centre, the policeman asked him what his mother looked like.
‘Joan Collins and Elizabeth Taylor’ he repeated what he had always heard.
‘What was she wearing?” asked the copper.
‘Her lokshen coat’ said Dan.
‘What’s that?’ asked the policeman.
‘It’s what you put in chicken soup.” said the boy. They found her instantly.
We arrived at West Herts crematorium bang on time. The chapel was packed. Nobody had expected so many people. The heating had gone, but nobody minded. The Humanist service was wonderful. A tribute to a 59-year-old woman who had fought ill helth for nearly thirty years, fought and finally lost the battle.
All of us walked out into the cold sunlight to read the inscription on the bundles of flowers that had been sent. Then everybody set off to my brothers house.
My cousin made a spread. Bridge rolls – why always bridge rolls at funerals – maybe to bridge the gap of grief and mourning. Anyway we had fish balls, bridge rolls with smoke salmon, bridge rolls with egg mayonnaise, more fish balls, pickles, cakes, brownies, sweets, hot tea and a lot of noise. We left the packed house, and my brother, to be comforted about his loss.
The three of us drove back to the flat. Getting warmer by Marble Arch, but still cold by Battersea.
B had a bath then flopped onto the sofa.
Jim went straight to bed. I talked to my producer about this Sunday’s show and then slid in next to Gods Gift. We all finally awoke at 5.00.
The emotional exhaustion was insidious.
Then the old git went off on his motor bike for his Friday night show.
Today has been a release. My brother sounds fine, if not a little drained, I went to Bikram and for 90 minutes sweated out all those deathly toxins.
Back to the flat and the ‘oosbind had already left for his two Saturday shows.
I made lunch, put the washing in, had a shower, wrote a review for THE SOURCE, which will be on your bookshelves by the spring, and researched tomorrows show. I have the wonderful TOBY JONES as a guest and the extrodinarily fit Claire Nasir doing the papers.
Its now 8.00, I have Mozart blowing his clarinet and am about to make a crunchy type of supper.
My brother will be fine, my nephew is dealing with his hangover and tells me that everybody said it was one of the best send offs they have ever been to.
My sister-in-law will be flapping around in her locshen coat enjoying the good reviews.
Have a good night and enjoy your life.

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