Charles Cowling
In general it’s irresponsible, contemptible, to adopt the role of helpless bystander. We don’t like helpless bystanders. Their body language is all wrong, so are their faces. Sometimes, though, you’ve just got to be one. When the plumber calls I serenade him with cups of coffee and ingratiating solicitude, then
Charles Cowling
Co-op Funeralcare are always on the lookout for little PR stunts to get a pic + 75 words into the local paper — heart of the community stuff: a little sponsored run here, a coffee morning and open day there, and sixty quid raised for charity. Nothing wrong in that.
Charles Cowling
At yesterday’s funeral I invited people in the audience to have their say after they’d listened to tributes from the family. I tried to make it easy. I gave them time to think about it in advance, acknowledged that speaking in public is hard, invited them to speak from where
Charles Cowling
There’s a lot of eco-angst out there as the banks go bust and the economy takes on the aspect of a clown car. At times like this I thought bankers threw themselves out of windows, the useless idiots. What’s stopping them? It’s an ill wind that blows nobody any good.
Charles Cowling
A ceremony to mark the end of a marriage. A funeral for a marriage. What do you think? The concept comes to us from (I think) Australia, the country which pioneered the secular funeral ceremony. One practitioner in this field is Jennifer Cram. I wonder how may others there are?
Charles Cowling
No one writes about death and funerals with greater wisdom, wit or feel for words than the poet-undertaker Thomas Lynch. Is that point of view disputable? I think not. But go on, dispute it all the same. Where healthy debate is concerned, there is harmony only in discord. Following on from my
Charles Cowling
For a while, now, I have been looking for someone to tell me what dying feels like. Tricky topic, I know, all the best witnesses being dead. Silly thing to do, friends have told me, don’t waste your time. Dr Geoffrey Garret, onetime senior Home Office pathologist, tells us what
Charles Cowling
The first time I spoke on the phone to Carl Marlow his voice was drenched with adrenaline. He’d just got back from cremating a Hindu on an open-air pyre.   He got away with it. Just.  It’s against the law.   That’s the way Carl is.   The first time
Charles Cowling
  What effect does the sight of a hearse have on you? Does it make your spirit soar? Does it put a spring in your step and a song on your lips?   Or does it throw a Hammer Horror chill around your heart?   What would be the effect
Charles Cowling
When I blogged about FuneralCare derecognising the GMB union I invited the press officer at FCare to respond in the interests of fairness and right to reply. Phil Edwards of FCare duly responded by email: “This deserves a reply. How much time do we have?” I told him to take