I’m still crunching on the snow.
A five minute drive into TWells and you could be forgiven for thinking that the snow was just a figment of my fertile imagination.
Massive thanks to LV for your info on malachite. I was indeed doing it wrong. Love to all of you who keep posting me and hello to some of my bloggers who have been absent.
This evening I’m continuing to trawl through years and years of photos.
I have a box for my mother.
A box for the three of us.
A box of duds when we all looked ill
And a box of professional snaps.
Hardly groundbreaking news but there’s something about the time which means I have to clear and throw.
The national news is a drip feed of agonising terror and yet more exposes of naughty journos, so whats new!
Yesterday the ‘oosbind and I went to a funeral.
The snow was dotted around the crematorium in haphazard hillocks.
We met up with the family. They had buried the middle sister one week before. The head of the family died 7 days later in his chair waiting for his Daily Telegraph. He was 101. Had he lived another few weeks he would have made 102.
Every day of his life he dressed with a tie and pullover.
The family are utterly functional. Jim and I watched as the day unfolded aware that our funerals – and lives- would never be so well packaged.
The Centenarian had been happily married for 69 years. His wife died three years ago.
They had three daughters. All delightfully different.
Each daughter had her own family.
One girl child to the first daughter.
Three sons and a daughter to the second
Two sons to the third.
Oxford University for two, colleges for all the others.
The family sat to the right in the little chapel whilst the rest of us mourners sat to the left. We were given spring flowers to lay on the coffin and a little booklet with a photograph of the deceased on the front with the running order, including poems, on the inside.
One grandaughter, three grandsons and two daughters made deeply moving speeches. A shared response to the loss of the head of the family. Memories of holidays, memories of family life, memories of an extended group of people who were there for each other. The family now welcomes three great grand children and three new partners to the dynasty.
One brother-in-law sung an Irish lament.
The small gathering of healthy individuals laid a daffodil or narcissus on the wicker coffin.
Nobody was afraid to cry at a life well lived.
He had studied to be a singer but given the constraints of the First Wold War, then the Second, he found himself working in a bank where he stayed for the rest of his working life. He would sing ‘Linden Lea’ when he was gardening, a reminder of his trained voice, the song was played during the service.
Poems were read, tears were shed, and then an afternoon, that bled into the evening, was spent at the oldest pub in Tunbridge Wells.
Jim and I waited for some kind of skeleton in the cupboard to be revealed but there was not one sign of dysfunction.
When everybody dispersed the old git and I stayed in the pub for a little bit longer. Both of us wondering what it must be like to have a family that camps together. A family that has continuity. A family that knows of each others whereabouts and can supply a babysitter at the drop of a napkin.
A testament to good education and honey sandwiches. A testament to good breeding and loyalty.
Jim and I had to laugh. His lot, and mine, are full of profligates and nere’do-wells, dead musicians and petty villainy.
We were invited into a rare breed of Englishness, where the immigrants amongst us shared the crisp lettuce and sausage rolls, as we paid our respects to the departed.
It was a privilege to be welcomed into the family.
Gods Gift and I decided we ought to put money by for our funerals and set about writing the speeches. Neither of which will happen.
I’m banking on the three daughters and extended framily getting themselves together and giving us a good send off.
I want a lot of noisy music, a lot of tears and a magnum of Champagne to toast my farewell. If it ain’t a full house I’ll be seriously disappointed.
And knowing what I do now I’ll be watching.
Mark my words I’ll be watching……