Friday, February 12, 2016

Diane's funeral

A good sleep at Mum and Mason's place. Up latish drawn down by the smell of coffee. I had toast and tea, with a paracetamol side-dish. Conversation with Mas about desalination plants.

Mum and I then went off to Diane's funeral service.  We caught the bus across country to Borehamwood, and then trained it up to Bedford. A town neither Mum or I had visited before. We were early so had tea at the anonymous Starbucks in Bedford Station then caught a taxi driven by a taciturn sikh to the crematorium.

Interesting old buildings, and lots of Eagle references, we passed the football team which seemed to be called the Bedford Eagles. There was also a place called Eagle Court (where raptors go to be sentenced) as well as a Harvey Road, which we passed while talking about my Grandmother (it was her maiden name) a Lorraine Court, shortly followed by a Toby Carvery.

We arrived early but fortunately there was a pleasant waiting room at the crematorium, and rather a lovely chapel. Outside there were particularly fragrant bushes, that were a lovely touch. Mum recognising few people, but we spoke to Di's sister, and her brother. Robert, her second husband was there too.

Lots of people and the service was excellent. Waiting for the coffin, they played Laughing at Life by Billie Holiday. Then a hymn. There was a reading of Desiderata by Di's granddaughter Sonia, then Vincent, Di's oldest son gave a very good speech about her life, and mentioned as a major event meeting Mum when they were 15. Alex her youngest son gave a short speech, followed by a grandson Joshua's speech. Then another grandson Dominic sang I'll be seeing you.

Then the curtains closed around the coffin, after we'd listened to Louis Armstrong singing Wonderful World. And then the Beatles Let it Be.

Mum and I chatting afterwards to Stewart, who is a really good guy, the middle brother, and Deborah who is the eldest of Diane's children and her excellent husband Morris. Sonia gave us a lift to the Barn Hotel, where there was a reception. Mum speaking a lot to Frank, who was Di's first husband, who was shocked to see me, having last seen me as a boy.  I particularly enjoyed the slideshow of photos of Diane. She was frequently great fun, and I'd known her all my life.

Then Mum and I got a cab back to the station. This time from an extremely taciturn Muslim listening to a Muslim local radio station. Passed a little street of back to back houses and noticed that one of the little houses was a mosque in it. A mother kissing her son, who then slipped inside.

Despite the sad nature of the day it was fun to spend time with Mum. Riding about on trains and the fact that she brought out a bag of pistachio nuts from her handbag for the train. It was a sad to see her oldest friend off.

Mum got off the train at Luton and I carried on to Brighton. Feeling very tired and slightly feverish. However to Brighton, and jumped in a cab and went to the Preston Park Tavern, where Lorraine and Betty had already ordered food. Ate this, accompanied by a cold beer then sauntered home. Lorraine deeply grateful to have reached the sanctuary of the half term. I deeply grateful to have reached the sanctuary of the gold sofa.

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