Charles Cowling
Did you read about that undertaker in Middlesbrough? The one who stole the keys from a rival undertaker’s hearse as it sat obedient and empty outside the Salvation Army citadel? It had to be hotwired to get it to the cemetery. It had to be seen to be believed. The
Charles Cowling
Here’s a problem for a species of mathematician: Exactly how big can a funeral directing enterprise get before it topples into incompetence and scandal? The same law of economics would, you think, apply to funeral directing as to, say, cars: expansion creates economies of scale and efficiencies of production which
Charles Cowling
Today’s papers have enjoyed this story—the ones you’d expect, the funloving Sun and the _____________ (supply your own adjective) Daily Mail. It’s a story which emanates, so it seems, from the Wales News Service, whose website offers this enticement: “Have you been betrayed by your man? Or did you get
Charles Cowling
When the present looks awful we seek refuge in the past. We fix on a time when we would have been safe. Is that why, when someone dies, we look for an undertaker who still dresses as he did in 1873? Maybe. There’s a lot of call for it. And
Charles Cowling
If you want to open a cattery in the UK you need a licence. Cat care is regulated. If you want to open a funeral home you need nothing of the sort, no exams, no professional qualifications, no previous experience—nothing. Anyone can do it, scoundrels, incompetents, sex-workers, school leavers, sociopaths,
Charles Cowling
Saturday was National Bereavement Awareness Day. Miss it? Whoops. Let me fill you in. A brainchild of the independent funeral directors’ trade body, SAIF, the day was a marketing tool designed to raise the profile of independents. My local funeral directors, James Giles and Sons of Bromsgrove, held an open
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