Was there anything we missed? We spent three days at the National Funeral Exhibition, most of it talking, very often to people with whom we have had a virtual relationship for years. It’s a weird thing about the world today that you can get to know someone very well indeed — without ever having met them in the flesh. The worst thing about meeting them all at once is that your brain eventually turns to mush and you start talking gibberish. By heck it was marvellous fun, though. As Kitty says, it’s all about the people, innit? Funeral people, the nice ones, are right up there with the best of them.
So was there anything we missed? Most of the stuff looked like the stuff that’s always there but, as I say, we didn’t get to see it all. Anything groundbreaking? There was a franchising business that caught our eye. We grabbed the flyer and said we’d ring. There’s always been talk of franchising in the funeral industry, but we’ve never yet seen it happen.
What was the highlight (apart from the free almond croissants at the NAFD stand)? For us it had to be the Brahms electric hearse, pictured rather poorly above.
We first met Steve Cousins, its progenitor, two years ago at the Arbory Trust natural burial ground in Cambridge. Lovely man. He’d brought his prototype. It didn’t get, as they say, off the ground. Must have been an expensive failure, that. We’ve often thought of him since, wishing him well, wondering what he was up to.
And the answer is that he was plugging away in the brave and determined manner characteristic of all inventive people. We think he’s come up with something really special.
The cost is around £38,000. Three quid’s worth of leccy overnight gives you 120 miles of motoring. It’s a customised Nissan Leaf, and it’s a very nice, classy makeover — seriously chic and stylish. It’s wee compared with the standard steroidal hearse and, actually, that’s part of its charm. You can’t get get your bearers in, though. We can see a lot of middle class chattering types like us really going for it.
Leverton’s have bought the first (it’s already LEV-ed up and raring to go). Very astute move, in our opinion. And, what’s more, here’s a vehicle ideally suited to London’s roads where traffic runs at an average of 10 mph, the same as it was in Samuel Pepys’ day.
So there you have it. Best In Show 2013: the Brahms electric hearse. Winner by a mile.
What was yours?
Our thanks to the exhibition organisers, the NAFD, and David Hyde, for inviting us We hope we behaved.
ED’S NOTE: EV = electric vehicle. Clue to the title here.