Friday, October 10, 2014

September to October

Its been too long since I had time to sit down and tap my stumpy little digits on the keyboard of my laptop to arrange the letters of the alphabet in such a way to create a record of the actions and appointments made by myself and various members of society who are lucky enough to spend elements of their lives in my company.

So much has happened since the last post, which if you take a look was mainly about mum and her helicopter trip over Manchester. That was a great weekend and one which we will all remember as other memories of mum may fade away. We all love and miss you mum.

The day that mum died, myself and Buffy were actually on the beach, during a holiday in Barcelona. The trip was good and although we were very much subdued by the news about mum from Chris in England, we did try to continue to enjoy ourselves, as I'm sure mum would have wished. We visited the still unfinished 'Sagrada Familia' and spent another day riding a vespa around the crazy backstreets of the city and up the mountain that looks down above it. We had an afternoon taking a Spanish cooking lesson, learning to cook paella and 'patatas tortilla', amongst other things. In the evenings we enjoyed good food and drink, a few too many mojitos and long island iced teas as well as a couple of nights in cool little jazz clubs. The Pipa club in particular was a great night - the night before mum died - as we watched one local bloke playing a chair like a drum and with a huge storm flashing streaks of lightning across the windows. All of this in a packed little club, which is in actual fact an apartment. The club has no advertising or promotions and the only way to find it is by word of mouth and the normal looking buzzer, amongst other residential buzzers. A great little find and a great night out.

Barcelona Beach

Cooking lessons

and eating the food...

Sagrada familia at night

Entrance to Pipa
The buzzer

The band

The drummer
All these and many more photos from Barcelona can be found here....Barcelona photos

When we returned from Barcelona we had to do something. I'm not the kind of person who can sit around and wait for things to happen. So me and Buffy made our way over to Skegness and started to work through the loft of mum and dads bungalow. As any of you who have been to Skegness will know, its where a of the families 'stuff', was stored. We spent two full days passing all the stuff down the hatch into the front room, where we went through every box, envelope and drawer - sorting it all out into 'throw', 'keep' or 'dont know'.

The throw pile was largest - complete with three toilet seats, jigsaws, hoovers, books, old Cd's and telephones and just about every bit of old kitchen equipment you could think of. Anything of use was placed into the relevant box at the recycling centre - like the books, jigsaws and Cd's - to go away to charity. We kept anything that we thought would be useful or sentimental to friends or family as well as things we didn't know what to do with. All in all it was our way of being involved before the funeral.

The funeral itself was great. Friends and family gathered again - with Gareth and Tracey travelling a second time from Australia. In one was it was easier than dads funeral, as we knew what to expect and Kevin - the deacon - was very good as well as being kind and approachable to everyone. It was a moving and fitting tribute to mum - with the perfect music being chosen by mum herself at dads funeral just 100 days earlier.

The get together in the pub later was also great as everyone chatted, laughed and cried a little - remembering mum and dad and being happy that they are no longer apart. By the end of the evening, it was us three boys, together with our other halves, who were left - drunk, smiling, laughing and crying as we remembered mum and dad. A night I will never forget and one which brought us all as close together as we have ever been.
The family and friends

The day after the funeral, us three boys returned to the crematorium to collect mums ashes. As Chris went inside myself and Gareth waited. Gareth had a look through the slatted doors of the furnace room and was accosted by what we thought was a security guard. He asked what Gareth was doing and when he replied that we were waiting for mums ashes and were just looking through the door to see what happens, he invited us inside to take a tour. Now, it might seem strange, but we took him up on his offer and walked into furnace room. I wont go into any details of the process, as I'm sure some of you readers do not want to know, but I will describe a little of what we saw...

A large steel oven, not unlike something you would see in a pizza restaurant sat there with a small viewing window, through which the operator can look to see what is happening inside. The room was neat and tidy with a touchscreen computer system controlling the oven sat next to it.The whole process is carried out by our 'tour guide' Eric, who wears an immaculate pinstriped suit from beginning to end. He is a smart, interesting but quietly spoken.

It was fascinating to hear 'Eric', talk about his job and the methods by which the whole process is carried out. He was respectful in each and every way that he described his job. It gave us all a sense of satisfaction that mum, dad and every 'customer', is treated with such reverence and respect, from the moment they arrive at the crematorium. It gave us all a conclusion to the funeral which we didn't expect and we cant thank Eric enough for showing us around. There are obviously no photos.

The final thing to do was to take mum to her resting place - on the beach, just outside Skegness, with dad and the small memorial created by Gareth and Chris, that overlooks the beach and out to sea.
Us three boys, with our three fantastic girls, spent half an hour on the beach taking it in turn to spread mums ashes and realising just how little she really was as there wasn't half as many ashes as there was when we did the same for dad. It was a beautiful autumnal afternoon and again, a few minutes that I will hold very dear -being with my brothers in Skegness for probably the last time.

Tracey and mum in the sea

Strolling along the beach

At mum and dads favourite spot

Bye mum    XXX    Love you