Please bear with me if I appear slightly below par this morning. I had a very busy day yesterday and I’m quite tired. I’m sure you all remember that Patricia was mown down in a horrendous incident a short while ago. Well, the coroner finally released her body, and her funeral was held yesterday.
I felt I had to attend in a semi-official capacity (not that anyone is aware of my present arrangement with the security services) so that I could see the attendees. I also had a tiny dictating machine in my coat pocket which automatically records any conversations it hears.
I do enjoy a good funeral – not that this one was particularly good. The current vicar is in hospital having a hip replacement so a locum vicar had to be ferried in from a different diocese. Now as he didn’t know Patricia at all, he spoke to a distant relative who lives in France. This guy hadn’t seen Patricia for decades although they kept in touch by letter. Unfortunately he wasn’t well enough to travel to the funeral although he was very upset by her death and the circumstances surrounding it. Apparently he told the vicar that she was a hippy in the 1960s and thoroughly enjoyed surfing. The conversation had obviously become somewhat confused at that juncture.
Of course, we weren’t aware of the conversations which had preceded the funeral. It was only apparent when the vicar announced the first hymn “Eternal Father Strong to Save” which ended each verse with “For Those in Peril On the Sea”. That hymn is particularly appropriate for a sailor or fisherman – but not for a woman of over eighty whose only connections with the water was a holiday in a cabin cruiser on the Norfolk Broads and surfing in Cornwall, both in the 1960s.
The vicar who I would guess at being in his late seventies and very deaf, didn’t help the situation. The poor chap was doing his best, but unfortunately hadn’t gleaned enough information about Patricia to give her the send-off she deserved. The sermon, which would normally be about the deceased, was stilted and didn’t make any sense. His main blunder was when he asked everyone to join in with the final “hymn”.
Why no-one checked with the vicar that everything was in order well before the service, I’ll never know. At that moment an old recording of the Birdie Song erupted in the church. Watching the congregation trying not to laugh as they moved their arms around in time to the music was simply awful. Afterwards at the wake it transpired that Patricia had particularly liked the 1960s song “Mr Tambourine Man” which was sung by “The Byrds”!! It was also recorded by the legendary Bob Dylan.
After the service had finished the wake was held in our complex. Patricia’s relatives paid for an outside catering firm to provide savoury nibbles and of course, Giselle conjured up some mouth-watering desserts and pastries. There was a wonderful turnout at the wake – there always is when free food is available – and I was able to snatch a word with Teddy who also attended. Harry wasn’t allowed in the church, so he curled himself up on a rug in my living room. He behaved himself impeccably, and was still in exactly the same position when we went back for him. Now we were all in the residents’ lounge he was looking longingly at all the plates of food which were being carried by residents. I’m sure he realised that there wasn’t any chance unless a morsel fell on the carpet.
Both Teddy and G came up to me at different times during the tea – it had been decided that the wake would be a celebration of Patricia’s life – and she loved a good party. The reason for her passing was awful, but she had enjoyed her life and was a very popular member of our community. Like many of us, her relatives are few and are scattered around the world.
I have arranged for Teddy and G to come for coffee on Saturday. It’s usually fairly quiet around here – some folk go to visit their family or friends. Other residents have their shopping delivered – isn’t online shopping wonderful! I order far too much and end up giving half of it away. I will learn in time not to order so much, but it’s very difficult when you’re buying food for just one person. I’m sure that you will agree with me.
I’ve wandered away from what I was telling you – I’m so sorry, it’s definitely becoming a habit, one which I must try and stop, because you will become very annoyed with me in a short time.
Right – I was saying that Teddy and G are coming for coffee on Saturday morning. I happen to know that they are both free all day and haven’t made any other plans. That will give me the opportunity to find out a little more. I did have a quiet word with Teddy and said that I could do with a conversation with her before G arrives. She understands what I mean – neither of us will discuss anything when G is there, and which she could tell other folk. She wouldn’t mean to pass on confidential information – she just can’t help herself. On the other hand, G may very well tell us about snippets of conversations which she’s heard from other people.
This is all getting very complicated now. I think I should probably start a list giving brief details of the characters and update them as and when necessary. Yes – I do feel that’s a good idea. I’ll work on it before we meet again. It will help us all to keep tabs on everyone and how they relate to each other – if in fact they do!!
Before I give myself any more work I must say cheerio and I’ll see you again after my coffee morning. I really am looking forward to that – two of my favourite friends here at the same time. G is sure to bring cake and Teddy is equally sure to bring Harry. On that note it’s time for me to have a cup of tea and a slice of cake. I will be back with news – As Always –
With Love – Jan xx