Sunday, 30 September 2007

Like leaves blowing in the wind

The story so far .....

I suppose that this Blog is not really an on-line Diary, more what used to be called "a Commonplace Book" containing occasional thoughts, reflections, celebrations, grumbles and disjointed ramblings.

A bit like life, really.

Friday, 28 September 2007

Away day

The AA (Automobile Association) web site kindly provided me with the route down to St. Alban’s, avoiding motorways, the itinery saying it was a distance of 112.3 miles which would take 2 hours and forty-five minutes. Somewhat optimistic!

The route down took me via a wonderful new A road, virtually clear of traffic after a slight hold-up at road works at Duxford and the Imperial War Museum, and then onto an horrendous B road that was single-track with Passing Places! And I met a bus!

Still, allowing for the rain and slow traffic through the centre of St. Alban’s, I made it to the West Herts Crematorium in just over 3 hours.

The return journey was worse.

With the M25 solid from accidents and road works, and not wanting to try and find my way back along the narrow B road, I took a route through Hitchin, Welwyn Garden City and Hertford, and then onto the A10 for Cambridge. The traffic was bad, and it took me an hour to reach Hertford. Eventually reaching the A10 I headed north and turned off for Duxford. I met the queue for the road works about half a mile along the road, and it was still some 10 miles to Duxford itself! I turned round and continued up the A10. This would lead me to the M11 and I could go up that and join the A14 to bring me eastwards round Cambridge, back to Bury St. Edmunds and thence to Bungay and home.

I joined the M11 to find it crawling, and so I came off at the next junction that led me into Cambridge itself. The Ring Road is badly signed, and after a circular tour of the centre and past the Fitzwilliam Museum, I finally found a sign for Newmarket. It took me over an hour to negotiate the city.

I finally got home after four and a half hours on the road.

As to the funeral service itself – it was Humanist, and although it was very well taken, it has left me with various questions. My cousin told me that as my aunt was not religious they thought this was the best service to have, and I quite agree. Any funeral has to keep integrity with the person being celebrated, but why then did we listen to a choral recording of the hymn “The King of love my shepherd is,” and say the Lord’s Prayer together? Also, the officiant kept emphasising that my aunt would live on in our lives through our memories that would be with us forever. Actually, they would be with us for the length of our lives, and then, in the Humanist view, on our death they would vanish. This then leaves the grieving relatives with a burden to carry, that it is their responsibility to keep the memories alive so that the person “lives on”. On their death there could be a sense of guilt that their relative will now be forgotten and be “out of mind”.

The Christian faith takes away this sense of responsibility. The person lives on through the gift of eternal life granted by God through Jesus. And it’s into that care and love that we commend them. As the curtains drew together today, we were told once again to keep my aunt alive through our memories of her, and our sharing of those memories.

Well taken, and no doubt absolutely right for many people, but for me it was lacking hope. But then hope is a gift of the Christian faith, and if you are not a believing Christian, then perhaps the hope is not missed.

Aunt Kathleen on her wedding day with her lovely smile

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Taking a back seat

Tomorrow there's a drive down to St. Alban's for the funeral of an aunt, and for once I haven't been asked to take this "family" farewell. Which in some ways is a bit of a relief. I haven't attended a funeral as a "spectator" for some 20 or so years. It will be interesting to see if I can sit through the short Crem service and not keep thinking, "I wouldn't have said that", or "I wouldn't do it that way."

I think that it will be good for me.

This drive comes just two days after a trip down to the south coast and friends near Brighton. I called in at Lewes on the way back. I've always liked this view of the Harvey's Brewery from the river.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

Right of Way

Driving across to a meeting tonight, road gives way to rail, every time!

Especially when there are no barriers!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Piratical exclamation


Too early

I had my first Christmas card in today's post! It came from a charity I support, along with their Christmas Catalogue. Sorry. Too early. It's all gone straight into the recycle bin!

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Stap me vitals!

I've had a complaint that it's too long since my last post, so as the midnight hour draws nigh I'm rectifying the situation.

Tomorrow is TLAP Day! For the uninitiated, that's "Talk Like A Pirate Day".

So expect a lot of timber shivering, barnacle blistering, and other nautical terms as I voyage around me parishes, me hearties! I might even clip a wooden parrot to my shoulder.

So get into the piratical mood, ye bilge rates, pass round the grog, and hoist the Jolly Roger. Arrrr.

Saturday, 8 September 2007

The Sparrow

Dietrich was marvellous, but I never saw the other great female singer of the time - one who was a close friend of hers - Edith Piaf. When in Paris in the summer of 1976 I made an attempt to see her grave, but never found it. Something still to do ....

A change of colour

Having put up the post about the "Blue Angel", today was the day for the Spice toilet! Tired of the badly-painted lemon-yellow upstairs convenience, months ago I bought a tin of "Spice" which I thought would look rather smart. So this Saturday was spent with paintbrush and roller in hand, and to the accompaniment of a CD of Noel Coward, firstly putting white on the ceiling, then cutting-in the orange-red around the edges, rolling the walls, and finally doing the gloss whilst the fabric blind was in the wash, A "turn-off brain" day before the spiritual exercise of tomorrow's services. By supper-time I was ready for my large Yorkshire pudding filled with the left-overs of the Thursday braised beef stew. Delicious! However, I forgot to have a glass of red wine with it. Perhaps I'll have one now .....

The Blue Angel

Between May 28th-June 2nd 1973 the great Marlene Dietrich performed at the Theatre Royal in Brighton. I managed to get tickets, and I sat spellbound throughout. She was fantastic, and her stage presence made you forget the rough edges to her voice. I count myself very lucky that I got the chance to see this legend. This clip is from her London show that year.