Flora and Williams Communion went well. A big thanks to Dr and Mrs Death and the deathlets, Mick and Sabrina Rocket Ron and Julie who made the trek over from Blightly for the do. On the Friday night we had a bit of a get together with the above and our new best mates Steve and Katrina. It wasn’t a wake but in true Old school Met fashion we did what we do best. It was a great night. Not because we were pissed but because it was very very noisy. I reckon that the best barometer for s good shindig.

We eventually hit the sack at around 4am and my top tip is that Grappa and Malibu do not mix that well. They talk about these youngsters binge drinking – Hah – kin light weights.

Having found my liver under the settee the next day we got ready for the big day.

The sunday of the communion was also mothers day in France. It was wet and miserable, like the weather had been for the last week or so, but for about 30 minutes after the service the sun came out. Lots of people knew Old Bid and came over to express their condolences. I was to read some prayers with a lady from Galan. When we looked at the prayers two were about mothers day and Stephanie said she would do those and whn I read them I was glad. When our time came she did her first bit then I di mine and then the second reading about mothers. Stephanie really choked and got through the reading and then the tears started. I thought she had lost her um and felt a bit of a cad, and then got a bit confused when I saw her mums mush looking back at me. It transpired she was upset on my behalf.

We headed of to the Ferme Auberge where we pigged out in true weight watchers style. The wine flowed and the chatter got noisier and then home. MrsF and Sabine had made a Gateau a la Broche, which is a Pyrenean cake cooked on a wooden mould over a log fire. It is a weighty beast and has amongst its ingredients 50 eggs, 2 kg of butter, 2 kg flour and a litre of rum.

It wasn’t the same the same without Granny and I think everyone felt it, but we had a good time because that is what she would have wanted. She would have got very cross to see long mopey faces and tears.

The long faces and tears were for Thursday. We flew back on the wednesday and drove up to York from Stanstead.

First port of call was the chapel of rest for those who wanted to see Granny for the last time. MrsF said she would go as she had never seen a dead body and felt that at the age of 22 (surely some mistake) Ed she should break her duck. The kids asked me what I thought and I had to be honest and said that once you’ve seen one dead body you’ve seen them all. and having seen more than my fair share I couldn’t really advise them as to whether they should or shouldn’t go in. As it was they decided they would all go in. I think Billy the Fish was half hoping she would open her eyes and start drinking blood like a true zombie. I knew it was a mistake letting him watch Shawn of the Dead. To his dismay Granny stayed dead and lifeless.

However the first cock up of our arrangements came to light. I had forgotten to give the undertakers a photo of Old Bid so they had no idea what her hair looked like. Instead of her flat cut style she had been coiffured in what one might call a typical Old lady style.

“Who gave her the old Lady hair?” was how Flora put it.

The agreed that hair aside it didn’t look like granny and indeed Granny didn’t look like granny on the last two days she was alive, but I said nowt and just said something along the lines of “That’s death for you”

Thursday came and we assembled at Old Bids for her final drive. As the hearse and funeral cars arrived so did the postman. He said how sorry he was and handed me a packet from It was my birthday present to Old bid which had been ordered way back on about the 10th April. You’ve Got to admit that’s service for you. Six weeks to send something out and delivery on your funeral – Here I have just ahd an idea maybe the good people at could bring out their own albumn, music to watch funerlas to! music to take to the Grave. If you like Gilbert & Sullivan that is.

The funeral went well as far as funerals can. The priest had chosen a gospel and reading that really did reflect Old Bids views on life and more appropriately Death. Then I stepped up to say a few words about my mum. I had a vague Idea about what I was going to say as I got into the pulpit. What I didn’t expect was that this was the moment it hit me. I felt as if my back had been broken again but worse. Fuck me what a time to loose it. I could not let it get the better of me so I stood for a moment smiling like a moron and composed myself and then started with the immortal words “Its funny how……” It wasn’t funny but I had to hold it together and from somewhere came the strength to overcome. I trotted out some of my better death jokes and witty anecdotes about my mum. I hope I said what we all felt.

I think it fair to say that MrsF was very upset, probably more than I was. They were good friends and I know they loved each other very much, they weren’t just close through and accident of birth. She an Old Bid got on really well and were very very close. Does that make sense or am I rambling ?

MF and Mick along with Patrick MFs step son carried old Bid from the church and then it was off to the crematorium.

Why is it that crematoriums always play “The New world Symphony” which was used by British Coal for years on their TV ads with those lines “Come home to a real fire” I have always found it funny and this was no exception. The service was short and we elected to leave the curtains open as it is often too traumatic for people when they close. The service finished with Old Bids favourite song.

Afterwards we had tea and buns and saw some old faces that I haven’t seen in years. Old fiends from when I was at primary school even. There were lots of people there and apart from her circle of friends and cronies from church we were touched by the number who had come along way just to see my mum off. There were too many to mention everyone, but there was TG, Mad Sean, TJB, Big Man, Uncle Norman, Rollo, Rolf, LB and more but I’ve gone blank.

This was the point of the second cock up because a lot of people went to the wrong place for the tea and buns. Oh well you can’t get it right all the time and I suppose we saved a few quid. Actually we didn’t because there wasn’t much left.

More to the point it was a glorious sunny day and the kids played outside and ran around having a laugh and doing what kids do and we chatted and swpaped stories with old friends and family and there was laughter in the air. It was as if the old Bids favourite song we had just heard was being played out for real.

I see trees of green…….. red roses too
I see em bloom….. for me and for you
And I think to myself…. what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue….. clouds of white
Bright blessed days….dark sacred nights
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world.

The colors of a rainbow… pretty the sky
Are also on the faces…..of people ..going by
I see friends shaking hands…..sayin.. how do you do
Theyre really sayin……i love you.

I hear babies cry…… I watch them grow
Theyll learn much more…..than Ill never know
And I think to myself …..what a wonderful world
Oh Yeah.

2 Responses to “Play”

  1. enidd says:

    don’t know what to say really, billy. that was lovely, and it brought a tear to enidd’s eye… and a smile at places. you did your mum proud in that bit of writing.

  2. Nicky and Drew says:

    Hello Bill

    A very hard story to write, but it was very moving and you did it beautifully. Love to you all xx

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