Charles Cowling
This blog is going to the seaside for a week in the firm conviction that there is more to life than death. It will spend some time hanging out with its embalmer friend, but its small talk is unlikely to be corpsecentric. No, it will be walking the windswept clifftops,
Charles Cowling
The effects of the crash have yet fully to register. Brits have always had a puritanical, penitential streak, a disposition to pare cheese, save string, make do and mend. Those who will be wiped out are to be pitied. The rest of us, I think, are strangely relieved that it’s
Charles Cowling
There’s no rule of thumb that will help us find a good funeral director. The soulless efficiency of the firm that sells us car insurance suits us very well so long as it’s the cheapest. But when someone has died, what we look for is an intensely personal service, and
Charles Cowling
“The Hindus of Britain have never asked for anything,” says Mr Gai of the Anglo-Asian Friendship Society “but we’re not asking for much, just to cremate our loved ones in the way our religion says it must be done.” The issue of open-air cremation is hotting up as Newcastle-based Mr
Charles Cowling
I had to go to Wales to see the burial ground at Usk Castle Chase because it’s just been garlanded with the title of Green Burial Ground of the Year 2008. Wales doesn’t know it’s Wales, of course: that’s simply the name its present tenants have given it. But it
Charles Cowling
“We don’t want the wedding to be a happy, jolly occasion. No, we want it to be a lament; an elegy for everything lost. Marriage marks a beginning, yes, but also an ending, a parting from family, a distancing from friends, the loss of personal sovereignty, the extinction of the
Charles Cowling
Secular celebrants congratulate themselves on delivering better funerals than ordained ministers. They think they do because people tell them they do. They risk complacency. A secular ceremony is often reckoned better than a religious one not so much for what it does as for what it doesn’t. Remove god and
Charles Cowling
Wherever dead people go they are freed from time. It’s our apprehension of this that adds to our sense of their elsewhereness and convinces us that they will not be coming back. It adds to the mystery, too. It is difficult to conceive of timeless existence, much easier to explain
Charles Cowling
If there was a conference organiser of the year award, it would go to Julie Dunk – technical officer and conference manager of the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management – and her partner, Blue. The reason, probably, why there is no such award is that Julie and Blue would
Charles Cowling
It was very good to hear yesterday from Donna Belk, a home funeral pioneer and enabler in Texas. How I like that term ‘home funeral’ — preferable by far to the UK term ‘DIY funeral’ with all its associations of bodge, muddle, panic and a late night visit from the