Tag Archives: funerals

A Question of Difference

Mornings can be very different.

At the beginning of the week we had frost. On one of the frosty days the frost had obviously melted slightly and refrozen, producing a glazed surface rather than the textured frost I normally expect. Fortunately the screen had been covered, but the rest of the windows were left with a covering that resisted the ice scraper. Eventually, a mix of cunning and heat did the trick.

It has been frost free for the last few days. I hope this will be the case again tonight, as I have left the cover off the screen.

This morning, in a fast-moving stream of traffic, where were had queued for20 minutes on Monday, I had a good view of an advert on the back of a bus – Motorcycle Funerals. I’ve seen a motorcycle hearse on a TV advert, but until now, that was the only place. As I said to Julia, it’s a bit of a double-edged marketing ploy. The only real motorcycle enthusiast in our family, would probably have loved it. Unfortunately, as he was killed whilst riding his motorbike, I can’t see that the family would have been in favour of the idea if such things had existed back then.

At the end of my journey I parked and went into the shop, sitting in the back room to start work. When I looked out (when the boss arrived twenty minutes later) there was a blue light flashing. In that twenty minutes there had been an accident on the ring road and an ambulance had been called. I’m not sure what happened, but it just shows how things can change in an instant and somebody’s life can change.

And on that philosophical note, I will call it a day, add some photos and go to bed.

If you search for “pig” in my media files most of the pictures feature pigeons. This probably reveals many things says more about the way I title my pictures. Pig? Yes, pig. I was going to follow up the puffin photos with pig photos and maintain a level of cuteness. However, without sifting through thousands of shots I am unlikely to find more pigs, hence the final picture.


Post 2,901

2,900 seems like a nicely rounded number, though in just 99 posts from this one I will be celebrating number 3,000, which will be even rounder. At the moment this is also draft 88, another well-rounded number and known to bingo callers as “two fat ladies”. What junk I carry in my head . . .

I passed a Funeral Director’s branch office today. It has closed in Nottingham and is just operating from its Head Office in Mansfield. What sort of undertaker, I asked my mate, can possibly be doing badly during a pandemic? He says it’s because of the number of new companies advertising no-frills cremations. They cost about half the cost of a normal cheap funeral and you can pay in advance. The only trouble with paying in advance is that they might disappear with the money. That would be annoying.

He’s over 80 now and I am of an age that regularly appears in obituaries these days, so we both have an interest in the subject. I favour a simple cremation followed by my ashes being returned home by post. He, after great thought, has decided on an informal woodland burial. This involves me, a transit van and a shovel, plus a secluded bit of woodland with easy access to a parking spot. It’s not the poshest of funerals, but overheads are low. He wants to be buried with a Star Trek badge and a pocketful of Roman Coins. He doesn’t like Star Trek and isn’t particularly fond of Romans, but he really does dislike archaeologists!

You can also get ashes made into jewellery – anything from a small container to  wear as a pendant, to a large artificial diamond (which is just carbon, like us after the cremation). If I’d know modern mourning jewellery was still in use, I would have made a collection of Georgian and Victorian mourning jewellery and used the bits with me in them as the final part of the collection.

I think that will do. I fell asleep last night and didn’t get round to posting this, so it’s time to post and then get going with a new day. There’s nothing like a discussion of death to remind me that I need to get on. This is my last Saturday off until summer, so I’m going to appreciate it. Back to work full time on Monday after a lazy few weeks!

Stop All the Clocks

I’m coming up to sixty, I’ve been talking to a man who officiates at funeral services and, on the way home last night, I listened to a radio programme about funeral singers. This would tend to indicate that it’s time to think of funerals.

Apologies to anyone who finds the subject in bad taste, but there are certain things that need arranging beforehand. I’m a bit on the large side, for instance, and the average coffin always looks a bit on the small side. Wicker, apart from its green credentials, has a bit more give if you’re having to pack a fat man in it. Cardboard is probably even greener, and you could probably make your own if you had enough warning. That might be a step too far, though totally in character for my parsimonious nature

I’ve had a quick look and made my first decision. I’m going for cardboard, as they do one of decent size at a reasonable price. You can buy them here on eBay, with free delivery. In contrast, most wicker coffins are only about six foot long and p&p on eBay is £50. You can buy a lot of sandwiches for £50.

I may well shrink with age (if I live long enough) but I’m still currently too tall for a wicker coffin. I don’t think we need to worry about the width just now.

I’d also like to be buried in a natural burial ground, but I’ve just looked it up and find a burial plot costs £600. You can bury one person in it or scatter four sets of cremation remains. The ashes seem more economical but you have to get cremated first and I can’t find a cost for this to do a proper costing. Even Cremdirect want to sell you a complete funeral. The don’t cover the Nottingham area, but if they did I’m not sure if they’d want me, as they say – “Additional costs my apply to oversize coffins in excess of 6 foot 4″ and over 24″ wide”. You could probably fit me into  6′ 4″ as it leaves an inch at each end and you’d be able to bend my knees a bit, but I’d have to check the 24″.

Their cost, as long as you’re small enough, is £2,150. Alternatively, you can have a Nottingham Funeral for £1,799.99. It’s the Council’s modern equivalent to a pauper’s funeral, and there may be extras, including an extra charge for having a Friday funeral. No, I don’t know why.

Nor do I know why you’d trust your funeral to people who have trouble organising basic bin collections.

Part 2 to follow…

Thinking and Sitting

I’ve been thinking today, and sitting. Mainly sitting, to be fair.

One of the things I was thinking about was funerals. I tend to think about funerals more than I used to, which might be a sign of something. Specifically I was thinking of wickerwork coffins, as they seem to be gaining in popularity these days. I’ve not used a large sample in my researches (four funerals in the last two years) but two of them used wicker coffins. One of them was my cousin, who had a lifetime’s commitment to safeguarding the environment. The other was a friend, who did a lot of fishing. It’s probably inappropriate, but I still smile at the thought.

I’m making no recommendations here, by the way, just showing some examples. You can also have bamboo and seagrass coffins imported from China, which tends to suggest they are less environmentally good. You can also get cardboard ones, but they only come in small sizes. I am only available in 5XL, so I’m either going to build my own from recycled boxes or go wicker. They are also available from ebay and Amazon.

Actually, I’m going to pause there. £250 for a cardboard coffin? I’m definitely making my own.

Anyway, my conclusion on funerals is that I don’t want one yet.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was on this afternoon. It’s a great film, and at the same time it’s appalling. Devil worship, witchcraft, Celts and a sheriff called George? What were they thinking? On the other hand, it does work, and I always watch it when it’s on.

I watched Grantchester later, wondering why I bother, as the TV stories don’t draw me in the same way that the books do. While I was watching, up popped Nick Brimble, last seen as Little John with Kevin Costner in Sherwood Forest.

All in all, not one of my most profound days.

I must eat more fish.