“Oh, I do like a good funeral.”
“Shush Mum, they’ll hear you.”
“We’re sitting on his side: that’s not right.”
“Will you keep your voice down?”
“We should be over there. That’s your Aunty Edna’s side.”
“It’s not a wedding, Mum. You can sit either side.”
“Aye-up, is that her as your Uncle Arthur ran off with? What’s her name: Florence, Phylis, or something?”
“Will you be quiet? You’re embarrassing me.”
“But what’s she doing here? You can’t bring your fancy woman to a family do. It’s just not on.”
“Both Arthur and his new wife have been most supportive of Edna throughout Derek’s illness. Of course Edna wanted them here today.”
“Well I think it’s a rum how-d’you-do.”
“We have to let by-gones be by-gones.”
“And who’s this? That’s not our Glenda is it? By ‘eck, she’s put some weight on. She used to be like a jockey’s whip. Now look at her. She looks like a barrage balloon in a frock.”
“Are you going deaf? Do you know that everyone in this church can hear every word you say? Please stop it.”
“Do you remember her from the chippy on the corner?”
“No Mum.”
“You do. Her Nigel went to scouts with our Eric.”
“No Mum. Eric’s ten years older than me. I really don’t remember his mates from scouts.”
“No but you must remember her from the chippy.”
“I don’t Mum. I only remember old Mister Dawkins at the chippy. And then they shut it down.”
“Aye well, she had the chippy before Dawkins. You remember.”
“I don’t Mum.”
“You do. She always had a smile for you whenever we went in.”
“How old was I?”
“Oh, I don’t know: one, maybe two. But you had such a cute little face. You looked wonderful in that bonnet I knitted for you.”
“Well, I’m not likely to remember that, am I? Anyway, what about her?”
“The woman from the chippy!”
“Oh, I was just thinking that your cousin Margaret looks a bit like her, from the side, in this light.”
“Oh God.”

“Derek was only seventy-two you know.”
“Yes. I’m seventy-seven in August. Makes you think, doesn’t it?”
“Your Aunty May is nearly eighty.”
“I’ve told him, when he’s gone, I’m having that shed back. I can see it as a summer house. I’ll put his ashes on a shelf beside my lounger.”
“Oh, I don’t want any fuss when I go.”
“Me neither.”
“You can give me to medical science, for all I care.”
“Me too.”
“I’d be happy with a bin bag.”
“A bin bag ont’ council tip.”
“I don’t even want the bin bag.”
“Have you come far?”
“Oooh, there’s a coincidence! You see these shoes? Well, your Aunty Dora lived in Bracebridge Heath. That’s just up the road from you, isn’t it? Well, I bought these shoes for her funeral. That’s fourteen years ago. I only wear them for funerals. They still look as good as new, don’t you think?”
“It’s a lovely spread they’ve put on.”
“That’ll be our Maureen’s handy-work. She’s in the catering trade, you know.”
“I won’t eat much though.”
“This is a nice bit of ham.”
“Here, you have half of this scone.”
“I don’t want a scone.”
“I won’t eat a full one. You have half.”
“Well, why did you fetch it then?”
“I won’t eat a full one. You have it.”
“He barely eats a morsel now.”
“I’m the same.”
“Me too.”
“Have you spoken to Derek’s daughter?”
“What, our Irene?”
“No, not Irene. Mary, from his first marriage.”
“No, I don’t like to.”
“Why ever not?”
“When I used to go to swimming club, her mum used to make me get out of the pool and stand, dripping wet, in the freezing foyer, to pay my subs. That floor was like ice and the door kept blowing open. I’ve never forgiven her.”
“That was nearly seventy years ago!”
“Yes, you may mock. Who knows; I could have been one of them Olympic swimmers. I told her our Freda would pay my subs when she came. It was only one and thrupence. Tight cow!”


About micklively

Fifty-something, pacifist, six sigma black belt, lean implementer, brewer, vintner, guitarist, wood-turner, and slave to collies.
This entry was posted in age, death, fiction, humour, life, women, writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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