Above, the January page of the 2013 Lindner calendar. Lindner make coffins in Poland. Their calendars traditionally vie with those of Conafunebri, originators of the genre, for shock value. Below, Confunebri’s take on November 2013.
I was wandering around a churchyard on that one sunny summer’s day, as you do, and came upon a few really lovely headstones.
The first was surrounded by a burst of colour in a green area of flat memorials in the council owned section – I loved the smooth, pebble like surface and the little indentation which created a bird bath.
I moved round to the church owned section and was taken aback because all the graves were at an angle to the path – obviously positioned to face East, but it created a diagonal vista across the cemetery which I’d never seen before. There must have been a fashion for rough hewn stones as there were several – but I liked this one’s inscription:
” Oh! Call it not death – ‘Tis a holy sleep”
Then I came across the only wooden memorial – cleft from a huge piece of oak. The owner’s name long lost in the ravages of wind and weather – but just look at how it has dried and stretched and shrunk and cracked, yet still stands tall and proud.
Hiding amongst holly trees, a prickly barrier against would be intruders to the peace of this long lost grave.
This next one then made me stop still for quite a long while – hand hewn by a loving father? husband? brother? So poignant in its home-madeness – I had to touch it and run my fingers over the clumsy lettering that had been chiselled with such love.
As I made my way out, my eye was drawn to this small headstone set back from the path, almost lost by all the cremation plot markers. The angled words completing my diagonal day. What a wonderful inscription, I resolved to make an effort to be more of a light!
An amusing little drama here describing an undertaker besieged by the spirits of people he has buried and condemned to a lightless existence. You will observe the auteurial influence of early Ingmar Bergman, Pedro Aldomovar, the Coen brothers and Jacques Cousteau. You’ll have to be quick, though, it only lasts 30 secs.
What’s bad news for undertakers is good news for the rest of us. And the good news for the rest of us is that, in the words of the Guardian,
Less of us are dying than at any time since mortality data was collected.
Good news for the rest of us, but rotten news for grammarians, whose binoculars are trained on this blog. ‘Less’ should read ‘fewer’.
Or more optimistically still:
More of us are not dying than at any time since records began.
That aside, last year’s mortality figures, now out, reveal that a mere 484,367 deaths were registered in England and Wales, 1.8% down on 2010. In a nation with an oversupply of undertakers, that spells hard times for the Dismal Trade, which is likely to experience a climbing mortality rate as the weakest go to the wall.
More to the point, it shows that a lot of people are getting clean away with it, and I hope that puts a hopeful spring in your step.
So, what are other people dying of?
Apart from the usual suspects, 5 died from falling off a cliff and no one died from rat bite. 51 men and just 1 woman died from falling off a ladder.