Third trip in about 6 weeks, first to see him in hospital, then to arrange funeral and this one to do it. 97 years old, and people say, “still, it’s a good age”. I don’t think he thought that. He might have responded to a question like ‘how are you?’ with mums favourite answer, “fair to crap”.
Departing on a Hull Trains train, Kings Cross to Hull Paragon without changes, and here it is at King’s Cross.
The day before the funeral we went to see Dad’s solicitor in Beverley. It was an opportunity to visit The Chequers micropub, always welcome. Also saw one of the distinctive Kingston Communication cream telephone boxes. Still an independent company, and Jon told me they were the first to introduce STD dialling codes.
The funeral went well. Dad insisted “no religion”, so we did it ourselves. Slow second movement of Rachmaninov’s 2nd piano concerto to go in by and to leave by. Found three versions of it in his flat so I guess he liked it. Had planned to play a recording of ‘On Growing Old’ by John Masefield, but the technology let us down, so I had to read it. Glad I spent hours trying to grasp it’s meaning when we found several photocopies of it in dad’s flat. Helped with the quality of the reading – I hope. The previous night, in Walters Bar in Scale Lane, Hull, Jon and I planned the running order. I led with a potted history of Dad, then the poem, and Jon finished with a selection of stories, revealing Dad’s character nicely.
Shook hands with nearly 50 people afterwards, some 15 came on to the pub to chat and have a dram. Picked up his ashes at 3pm, and had scattered them on the Humber, along with a poppy wreath, by 4pm.
Here he is at his best, probably mid 1960s, along with his miniature set of war medals. Fairly typical set – 39 to 45 star, France and Germany star, Defence medal and War medal 39 to 45.