Monday, 26 March 2018

Funeral Follies

My mother's side of the family are not noted for their organisational skills. This has resulted  in one or two really dodgy funerals.

My Nana Kate's (my mother's mother) cremation was so brief that if you'd been thirty seconds late, you'd have missed it. One poem by her second husband, my step grandfather Ron. No flowers. A cardboard coffin that had been so badly varnished that 'streaky' doesn't even begin to cover it. I left the crematorium issuing instructions to my executor cousin, Sarah, that whilst I was fine with a cardboard box, it was to be an honest one with "Tesco" or "Sainsbury" printed on the side!

Roll forward several years and Ron has left instructions that he wanted the same kind of funeral. Well, my uncle Derek was happy with that; "Ron was a tight old git all his life, I'm not spending a penny more than necessary". Fair enough.

Just one teeny, weeny problem. Ron was quite a big bloke. Not particularly fat, but hefty. Take one hefty bloke, a cardboard coffin (thankfully minus the dodgy varnish), and a day when it absolutely pissed it down...... The pall bearers had a short walk, in the teeming rain, with a moisture absorbing cardboard box. A box which started to twist as they carried it. A box getting wetter by the second.

My cousins and I couldn't look at one another for fearing of corpsing with laughter.... we were mentally taking bets on whether they'd get Ron inside the chapel before the box gave out and he landed arse first on the tarmac. Thankfully, they got him in intact but it was close. Once inside, my cousins and I spread out as we couldn't look at one another. All of us were staring at out feet to avoid catching one another's eye.

Five minutes passed. Then ten. Nearly fifteen before Uncle Derek stood up and said "I thought there'd be someone here. Doesn't the crematorium send someone?". 'Er no, Derek, you're supposed to sort that out. My ribs were aching from trying not to laugh by this stage. Fortunately my cousin Sharon's hubby has the Welsh gift of the gab and threw together a hasty, off the cuff eulogy.

So, when it came to my mother's funeral today, I wasn't expected anything other than a complete debacle. Her partner, Terry, more or less railroaded my brother and me out of any involvement with arrangements despite us being the next of kin, not him.

I walked out at the end. Terry didn't get the celebrant to talk to me beforehand so whilst beautifully framed and delivered, the eulogy was littered with errors.

The first half of Terry's speech was lovely about how he felt about Mum but, as usual, he had to over-egg the pudding and turn it into the King Terry show. As for the two bloody Charles Asnomore songs and using the poem the Queen used at her mother's ceremony, words fail me! As for making us stand as a curtain went around the coffin at the end... My mother would have decried such pretentious nonsense. The grotty brown velour curtain looked like it needed a good launder. I half expected Debbie McGhee to pop out wearing her magician's assistant spangly number.

It was lovely catching up with my cousins and my Auntie Josephine though. My mum's lovely young neighbour came too so it was pleasing to be able to thank him for keeping an eye out for my mum.

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Thora Beryl Evans, My Mother

Thora Beryl Evans
30/06/1934 - 05/03/2018

My Mum is always with me.

As flour falls from my sieve, it's her hands on the handle.
I spread Marmite on toast, she's caring when I'm ill

Turning a hem, she slip stitches for me
Blood welling from my finger, her voice swearing

I mutter, "Effing cat!", it's her voice I hear

My fingers in warm compost, we share the smell
Pruning roses, she's telling me how

Sat in a sunbeam, she's next to me, mug in hand.
She's in every garden, and in every chore

I miss her, yet don't, as she never left.

Monday, 29 January 2018

Jazz Club

Genial, Gimlet'd Gallants,
All Cosmopolitan Confidence,
Wishing Daiquiri Dalliances
And Moonlit Manhattens
Call Sidecars for
Socialite Scandal

Friday, 26 January 2018

Boycott Burns Night

Oh dear, that's not a Haggis! It's the highly secretive Haggis Hound. It's a bit of a misnomer as it's actually part of the rodent family and not a hound at all though. They spend their days roaming the heather uplands of Scotland, looking for food and wisps of wool with which to line their dens. 

This species exhibit an unusual adaptation to their environment. The limbs on one side of their body are longer than on the other. This makes ascending and, indeed, descending the rocky crags in a spiral path easier. It is also thought to be implicated in their declining numbers as mating is only successful if the pair comprises one clockwise hound and one anticlockwise one. It is for this reason, the Highlanders have instigated a breeding program. It's location is a highly guarded secret as some in the Whisky trade consider the Haggis Hound to be a pest due to their competing for the more exotic botanicals used to flavour the best single malts. 

Most Scots would be deeply saddened to see the loss of these wee beasties however, and enjoy the sound of its voice echoing around the glens. It's territorial calls are said to sound like the hissing of the peat fires in traditional stone crofting cottages.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Keeping the Kids in Bed

Want a lie-in on Christmas morning, parents?
As a result of my post on 1970s home decorating in Facebook, I've remembered why we kids didn't get up at dawn and disturb our parents. The lack of bedroom heating and relatively colder winters meant ice on the inside of the window glass.
Not that you could get up if you were stopping with Granny Greyhips (my Dad's Mum) in Townhill, Dunfermline. The beds had flannelette sheets, two (at least) good wool blankets, a candlewick bedspread, and a matching Eiderdown of truly epic weight. Basically, you had to be at least twelve before you had the strength to get out of bed unassisted!

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Moist Toilet Paper

I've just noticed that Andrex Washlets have detailed instructions on how to clean your arse printed on them. I can't help feel this marks a new low for society.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Farewell my Lovely Girl.

Nutmeg (Jenanca Shu Lan) was assisted to die about 1am on 04/12/1017, aged 19 after a short few months of renal failure. 

She went peacefully after being in a lot of pain for a day. The out of hours lady vet was so kind and soft with us both. 

RIP and run with with Maximus my darling. You were so difficult to read but also a loving companion. I miss you so much, my Pink Minx.