Chocolate Socialist (braisedbywolves) wrote,
Chocolate Socialist


My friend Seth's father died earlier in the week, so I went up to Stoke yesterday for the funeral. I knew Seth back in Dublin, though he's in Belfast now, and so it was a lot easier for me to attend than any of the others. Plus also, the no job thing.

I wore my normal suit and my enormous black coat, but oh no, I broke the arm off my regular pair of glasses, so I had to wear my prescription sunglasses whenever I wanted to read something moderately far away. But not more than was necessary, after a glimpse of myself in a window confirmed that suit+coat+short hair+sunglasses is over the thin line between mourner and professional assassin.

Since I'm still reading My Big Book of the Reformation, it was particularly interesting to see the prayer booklet having different sections for C of E (often with alternate prayers) and Roman Catholick, and a list inside the front cover of the various churches that were covered by the most general service (including The Salvation Army!). Also to see the justification by faith actually applied to a service: "We must all remember that no-one feels love except through God, and so we must remember to thank God now for any love we have felt from or to Malcolm during his life".

I never met Malcolm, but by all account Seth's a lot like him, IE a great English 'character', not quite an eccentric, but not intesely concerned with the norm. Exhibited most sharply by Malcolm having a tendency to walk around the house in the nip, and Seth feeling no problem with mentioning this in his words of remembrance during the service (which he ended with a crossword clue!). Also a very Seth touch was that he'd only got one black tie, so he wore it and buttoned over his jacket perhaps more than entirely neccesary in order to disguise the fact that it was a Vader pattern. NB: it must have been a present, Seth is Not Like That.

The other slightly bewildering difference from funerals I'd attended first appeared when I asked Seth if there was someone who might give me a lift to the afters, and he offered that his mother might have space. When I suggested she might be a bit busy, he pointed out that the official widow was his step-mum, and it was his dad's first wife that could drop me over. I'd noticed earlier that the two people about my age who'd also read at the service had completely different surnames from Seth's dad, and a bit of enquiring afterwards revealed that they were from his second wife's first marriage to a gentleman from Mexico, which is why they rejoiced in the name Velez-Colby. And when Seth's mum was catching up with some old gent who she'd not seen for 30 years, he mentioned that his wife had died, and he'd fallen in love with her best friend and lived happily for another 20 years without feeling the need to visit the altar. I mentioned how I found this slightly bizarre this was to the late-50s couple who gave me a lift back to the station, and the gent mentioned that up to 1 in 3 marriages in England break up. Her: "For example, we're both second marriages" Him: "Well, you're on your third or fourth!"
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