Tuesday, 10 April 2007

By the right, funeral march (well, stagger)

The funeral went okay. The weather was good. The mass went well. Ish.

The readers were from the in-law side of the dead cousin's family and they were pretty indistinct even though they had a microphone. The priest, in his sermon, went on a Dead Auntie's humility, goodness and hard work.

Much good it did the poor cow. All that's left of her immediate family is an alcoholic balloon pushing 50 years of age, having never been officially employed in his life. Although there are three grandchildren from Dead Cousin's marriage and one great-grandchild.

The funeral was in Mortlake Cemetery. In London, this isn't too hard to find. However, there were a lot of relatives from Ireland over and more than a few got lost. They tried following the cars in the cortege, but got cut off by a bus at the traffic lights. There were frantic 'phone calls to other drivers or their passengers (including my cousin driving me and Dad) trying to work out where they were, where were we, how do they get to where we were and where's the cemetery. Yep. Satnav's popular, you can tell.

Most got to the cemetery before the interment. After the burial came the obligatory walk through the headstones to see who else is buried there. A lot of Dad's friends are there. He knew such-and-such back in '62. He knew so-and-so when they first moved to the Bush. Ah, happy days.

We yo-yo'ed back to the Bush and at the wake in a pub a few doors down from the church where we had the mass, I met up with what must have been the only people in Shepherd's Bush who hadn't heard of Mum's death.

Even now, nearly 5 years after she died, total strangers come up to me and tell me how sorry they were to hear of Mum's death. Not this bunch. The daughter went to primary school with me, the older brother is best mates with Alky Cousin and the mother regularly sees my Dad on the bus. They'd never heard. Great. We spent the afternoon catching up on old times.

She was wrinkled and old looking even though she was in my class in primary school. I didn't recognise her at all. She twitched and fidgeted as we spoke. She excused herself and went to the toilet twice. Her hands shook as she poured her drink - bottled cider over ice. Hmmn.

There was a collection of cousins. One with the same name as me. Her nephew(?) or our second cousin(?) was toddling around looking very cute. He was very very small for his age (nearly two). He had a massive, almost dwarf-ish, forehead and it regularly got bumped. There were bruises all over his head as he fell about and got knocked over in the crowd of drinkers who didn't see him running around their legs. He didn't seem to mind.

He didn't like me. He kept a determined set to his face as he waddled off to the electric sockets, the main swing doors out to the pavement and the hole in the bar that led to the staff area behind.

People regularly picked him up and carried him over to Mum. Nope. He wasn't having any of it. His face fell as I picked him up away from the socket. As I handed him over, he pushed away with a "she skinned my puppy " look on his face.