Blog Archives: June 2012

Muriel’s ashes

Saturday, 30 June 2012

It was the Jubilee weekend and a year since we had all gathered around Muriel’s hospital bed as she told the Doctors that she wanted no more treatment, no interventions, no resuscitation. She told us she had had a wonderful life, she was ready to go, that she wanted to be cremated and she wanted her ashes to be scattered in an open, high place.  This is the place we chose.


Those of  her children and grandchildren and great grandchildren who were able to be there, each took a handful of her ashes and threw them to the wind. Little children keen to ‘have a turn’, adults laughing and crying all at the same time.


I took pictures for those who couldn’t be there – and when we looked at them afterwards we were amazed to see this one – looking like a proud lion above the clouds! Reminding us of her strength and courage in her living and in her dying. A lady who, in her youth had played bridge with the Shah of Persia, raised seven children and been the proudest Nana and Little Nana to so many more.

Into the freedom of wind and sunshine
We let you go
Into the dance of the stars and the planets
We let you go
Into the wind’s breath and the hands of the star maker
We let you go
We love you, we miss you, we want you to be happy
Go safely, go dancing, go running home.


Posted by Evelyn

There, there!

Friday, 29 June 2012

Tiger Lillies & Kronos Quartet – Hipdeep Family

Friday, 29 June 2012


In January Cousin Fred,
We found him in the attic dead.
In February’s odd adventure
Father lost his dentures.
In March Fiona had a fright
When coming home alone one night,
Some men in a long black car
Made her get in and drove her far.

In April Horace left behind
What little thought, what little mind
He may have had. In the result
He joined an unknown eastern cult,
Tattooed his ears, pierced his nose,
Glides around on henna-ed toes.
His relatives are unforgiving,
Assert he’s no longer living.
The Hipdeep family.

In May Aunt Flo began to sneeze,
Which heralded some strange disease.
In June Jeffrey got himself arrested
He’s still far and wide detested.
In July Mama’s pin-money dwindled
Away to nought when she was swindled.
In August Bruno had a fit,
A passing tot he went and bit.
The Hipdeep family.

In September we were sad to lose
Miss Grey while on a cruise
She happened to fall overboard
Into Norway’s deepest fjord.
In October Alice was betrothed
To Edgard whom she found she loathed,
His behavior ever since
Has been enough to make her wince.

In November it was rather frightning
When Baby Boo was struck by lightning,
The experts think perhaps he’ll walk
And even sort of learn to talk.
And in December Amy’s luck was rotten,
While singing ‘Die Frau and Schatten’,
Without warning lost her voice,
A twist of fate, had no choice.
The Hipdeep family.

So much for us, we hope that you
Have managed somehow to get through
The year and so can celebrate
A bit before the hands of fate
Shall get us in its grip again,
But we anticipate our Gorey end.

RIP Andy

Friday, 29 June 2012


Tomorrow will see the funeral of Andy the police dog, who died on Tuesday in a tragic training accident. It will take place in the gym at the Elementary school in his home town of Vermilion, Ohio.

Andy’s handler, Scott Holmes, said: “He was our only police dog, and he was great. He made a lot of drug arrests and he was a big part of our education. He was very friendly and loved kids. He went to the schools and did demonstrations, and children loved him.”

More than 500 people are expected to attend, including police officers from across the state.

You’d never get a turnout like that in Britain and we’re supposed to be a nation of doglovers. 

Full story here





Song for a baby

Friday, 29 June 2012


Evelyn found this – played in memory of a baby


The morning cold and raining,
dark before the dawn could come
How long in twilight waiting
longing for the rising sun
ohoh ohoh Oh ooh

You came like crashing thunder
breaking through these walls of stone
You came with wide eyed wonder
into all this great unknown
ohoh ohoh Ohoooh Oohh

Hush now don’t you be afraid
I promise you I’ll always stay
I’ll never be that far away
I’m right here with you

You’re so amazing you shine like the stars
You’re so amazing the beauty you are
You came blazing right into my heart
You’re so amazing you are…
You are

You came from heaven shining
Breath of God still flows from fresh on you
The beating heart inside me
Crumbled at this one so new
ohoh ohoh Oooh ooohhh

No matter where or how far you wander
For a thousand years or longer
I will always be there for you
Right here with you


I hope your tears are few and fast
I hope your dreams come true at last
I hope you find love that goes on and on and on and on and on
I hope you wish on every star
I hope you never fall too far
I hope this world can see how wonderful you are


You’re so amazing you shine like the stars
You’re so amazing the beauty you are
You came blazing right into my heart
You’re so amazing you are…
You are

What I will and wont miss by Norah Ephron

Friday, 29 June 2012

Posted by Vale

Writer and director Norah Ephron died this week. Called an artist of consolation, she is remembered for comedies like Sleepless in Seattle and When Harry Met Sally, but also wrote screenplays for the more serious Silkwood, fiction and a huge number of books, articles and blog posts. In I Remember Nothing she left a list of all the things she would and wouldn’t miss:

What I Won’t Miss

Dry skin
Bad dinners like the one we went to last night
Technology in general
My closet
Washing my hair
Illness everywhere
Polls that show that 32 percent of the American people believe in creationism
Fox TV
The collapse of the dollar
Bar mitzvahs
Dead flowers
The sound of the vacuum cleaner
E-mail. I know I already said it, but I want to emphasize it.
Small print
Panels on Women in Film
Taking off makeup every night

What I Will Miss

My kids
The concept of waffles
A walk in the park
The idea of a walk in the park
The park
Shakespeare in the Park
The bed
Reading in bed
The view out the window
Twinkle lights
Dinner at home just the two of us
Dinner with friends
Dinner with friends in cities where none of us lives
Next year in Istanbul
Pride and Prejudice
The Christmas tree
Thanksgiving dinner
One for the table
The dogwood
Taking a bath
Coming over the bridge to Manhattan

You can find the book here.

The list was found over on Lists of Note

Greenfield’s coffin of the week

Friday, 29 June 2012


See Greenfield’s coffin of the week here. Click the bottom right-hand coffin. 

Thoughts of a funeralgoer

Friday, 29 June 2012



Posted by Lyra Mollington



There was only one topic of conversation at our book club on Tuesday morning – apart from the book we were discussing, of course! 
Yes, it was the fascinating television documentary from the evening before – although we agreed that the whole thing had to be taken with a pinch of salt.  After all, TV producers need something out-of-the-ordinary (and a few shocks) to attract the viewers.  However, that’s what makes great television and I’m not ashamed to admit that I was glued to my seat for the entire programme. 
 ‘Strictly Kosher’ is an interesting insight into the traditions and customs of the Jewish community in Manchester.  As an outsider, I had the luxury of being able to keep an open-mind, but there must have been many Jewish people shouting at the television as they watched members of their faith appearing foolish or eccentric.  Indeed, I am sure some would rather not be associated with certain attitudes and practices.  Like the vast expense incurred when celebrating Jewish festivals.  For example, purchasing a single citrus fruit for anything from £30 to £500 depending on the quality.  As one man commented, ‘I’d rather buy a new leather jacket!’ 
But the characters and their stories were compelling.  In particular, Jack’s story was incredibly moving.  At the age of only 16, he had experienced first-hand the horrors of the Holocaust.  Now an old man, when he visited the grave of his little brother, who was a victim of the gas chambers at the age of nine, we were weeping with him.  But Jack doesn’t spend his days wallowing in self-pity.  He visits schools and tells his story to youngsters, using his experiences to inform and educate.  Yes, it’s painful to hear about these terrible crimes but we need to know about them to learn from them.
Coincidentally, the novel we were discussing at book club was another inspiring story about ordinary people and their struggles against corruption and depravity.  The Book Thief is written by Markus Zusak.  The narrator of the book is Death himself – a compassionate being who despairs about war and man’s inhumanity to man.  He does not cause anyone’s death; however, he must deal with the consequences.  And he longs for a holiday. 
As we left the library, Valerie asked if I had watched a Channel 4 programme about undertakers – it was on just before ‘Strictly Kosher’.  (Regular readers of this blog may remember that, three weeks ago, I wrote about Valerie’s mother’s funeral.) 
Valerie looked troubled.  ‘Perhaps the Jewish people have got it right – they bury their dead straight away.  No lying around for days or weeks.  The worst thing is, until I watched that wretched programme, I was really happy with mum’s funeral.  The Co-op people were brilliant.  Chris and I even sent a thank-you card to the girl in the funeral home.  She was lovely.  So kind and caring.’
I told Valerie that she could feel proud that she had given her mum the best possible send-off.  I continued by saying that I still couldn’t stop smiling every time I thought about us singing ‘The Happy Wanderer’. 
‘But all I can think about now is that hub!’ she replied. 
She went on to tell me that she had been having visions of her mother’s body travelling back and forth to the funeral home every time someone from the family wanted to spend time with her. 
‘She’ll have been up and down that motorway like a Waitrose delivery lorry!’
I suppressed a smile.
Valerie suddenly laughed. ‘What am I doing to myself?  Mum loved a road trip!  She would be horrified to see me fretting over this.’ 
I kept a straight face and said, ‘Yes, and not many people can say, “We sang The Happy Wanderer at our mum’s funeral!” ’
She called after me as I left, ‘Don’t forget!  Part two of Strictly Kosher is on at 9 this evening.’

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