It’s a bit of joke amongst those who are notoriously poor timekeepers that they’d even be late for their own funeral.
Dad was quite a stickler for punctuality, and I take after him. I’d rather be half an hour early than two minutes late – the feelings the stress response and subsequent adrenaline surge bring I’d rather avoid whenever possible.
Yesterday I thought we’d got everything well planned.
Everyone was at mum’s house, ready to go to the crematorium, in plenty of time. People had travelled from many miles away, and we’d been a little anxious that one or two wouldn’t make it.
But they did.
The hearse and limo were booked to arrive at 1230hrs, to take mum and her four daughters to the funeral.
They arrived promptly. We were all ready to go. Some of the family had already left for the venue.
What we failed to anticipate was roadworks on the very busy A449, that literally commenced in the hour prior to that. It meant the cortege had to turn left rather than right, and it took 24 minutes to get back to where they’d started from before we even commenced the drive to Worcester Crematorium, a journey which ordinarily would take around 20 minutes.
It’s crazy enough to only have 45 minutes per funeral here, but to have missed the first 15 minutes made the whole service whizz by in the blink of an eye.
Thankfully our amazing celebrant Margo was ready to trim the order, and managed to play just one verse of Frank Sinatra’s “I did it my way’, which was enough to sum up the tribute she’d read to dad.
Dad would’ve been quite amused I think, and chuckled with the twinkle in his eye that I can see when I close my eyes and remember him in his ‘good’ days.
So many people came to pay respects to dad, from the park home site they live on, old and dear friends of the family – one he hadn’t seen for many years from the squash club in Sutton Coldfield he was a member of for over forty years from 1964, and two carers from Rainbow Care, who’d been visiting mum and dad twice a day since June. It was a testimony to the high regard everyone had for a great man.
The wake went well too, and was a magnificent celebration of his life. Barry’s slide show, that he’s literally been working on each day since dad died on 9th February, was outstanding and will be something the whole family can cherish for generations.
We’ll still be back and forth to support mum in the days, weeks and months to come, but for Barry and I it’s time to focus on building our businesses and making some money to live on – or we’ll be heading back to New Zealand by July 2016 as he won’t successfully pass the second round of his UK visa application!
Back on the cut
This afternoon we left Worcester Marina after three months and three days. What a great mooring spot it was, so handy for the city centre and of course all the too’ing and fro’ing I’ve been doing since 10th December.
We’re moored up this evening at Diglis Basin for a day or two, before heading up the River Severn to Stourport and beyond.
We’re really looking forward to catching up with lots of fellow traders and boaters in the near future.
The last few weeks have been pretty full on supporting mum as she grieves for dad, and doing the bulk of the formalities necessary when a person dies – especially one who’s lived a long, full and happy life for almost 95 years!
I’ve never had the experience of this previously – how fortunate I feel for that. It really is onerous …
Barry bless him, has been doing a stalwart job designing the order of service, and planning what I am certain will be a superb slide-show of dad’s time both with us and way before us. He was 35 when he married mum, and had travelled extensively for work and pleasure prior to that.
Dad’s funeral is on Monday 2nd March. Many people may be aghast at the length of time from his passing on 9th February – it’s chock a block at the crematorium here in UK at the moment apparently!
We’re having the Humanist Celebrant Margo, who performed our narrowboat wedding in September 2009 (there’s a photo of her with us in the previous post). Dad was never religious as far as we are aware. HIs grandfather, Reverend Thomas Inglis, was a much revered Methodist Minister in Edinburgh and Lindley, Huddersfield, but his only son William Dixon, dad’s dad, apparently rarely entered a church.
His funeral and wake are planned to be celebrations of his life. Sure there will be a few tears, we all miss him greatly, but we miss the man he was, not the man he had become, and we’re mostly just grateful he’s not suffering the indignities of dementia any more.
Brightening the days
Last Saturday, 21st February, my beautiful younger sister Viv, married her long time partner Ray. Bath is somewhere they’ve stayed on numerous romantic breaks, not far from their home in Exeter, so that’s where they chose to marry.
Not JUST Bath, but AT the Roman Baths in Bath!
Obviously the public are thronging through during the day, so weddings here are held either early morning or in the evening. Theirs was at 7.30pm. In mid- February that time of night is dark of course, adding to the amazing atmosphere.
It was magical as you can imagine, and really helped to lift all our spirits at this time in our lives. Dad came with us in the form of a framed photo Barry had printed. We’d done a similar thing for our 22nd December 2009 wedding, as Barry’s dad Frank died on 7th November that year. I’d love to think he was filled with pride watching Viv and his family sharing such a happy occasion.
Our stay in Worcester will be a little extended due to circumstances, so we aren’t planning to be back ‘on the cut’ until late next week.
We’d originally wanted to travel down the river Severn to Gloucester, as it’s a journey we’ve yet to experience. However, due to the tight timescale of getting up to Middlewich for our first trading weekend at Easter, we’ve decided to forgo the trip for now. The vagaries of the river levels mean we could potentially get stuck down south and be unable to move in time. So we’re literally taking a rain check!
We’ll be heading north, we haven’t yet worked out our route …