I don't want to be a brick in a wall. All bricks look the same and they are cemented into place, kept in rigid order. And walls divide. And life is like banging your head...

Looking back

Today has been a time for reflection. It was Frank's funeral and the family gathered to pay their last respects.

These occasions generate a variety of emotions in me. I was fairly cool outwardly towards Frank. He was Deb's Grandad and I never knew either of mine, so I didn't know how to relate to them. In a lot of ways I didn't see the point in them. But inwardly I had a lot of respect for him. He was a genuine war hero in the old fashioned tradition: we all knew he had seen and done horrific things, but only because their were things he wouldn't talk about. He was not a show off. I admired his ordinariness, his matter of fact approach to a period of his life that was extra-ordinary.

I also have no relationship with God, god or gods. Funerals, weddings, all those religious occassions, they all promise certain amounts of discomfort. I used to bow my head but that made me uncomfortable. Now I don't, and I'm still uncomfortable. I used to sing the hymns - I like singing - but the words made me uncomfortable, so I don't sing. But beneath all this I enjoy the process of coming together. The ritual of the family gathering, the saying goodbye, I can see the point in that. I just don't believe the bit about death being the beginning of a journey.

The funeral also made us look back at ourselves. I started this blog as a diary of our decision to sell everything, take the kids out of school and travel. Somewhere along the way that dream and desire has dimmed. Today was a day to rekindle that passion. Frank was born and died within 100 mile radius. He sold lawn mowers for a ridiculous amount of time. The only time he travelled anywhere was as a soldier. Watching a box being lowered into the ground makes you aware of the insignificance of everything. We should not be afraid of what might happen, we should be afraid of nothing happening at all.

Finally, the funeral made us think about our wills. Neither Deb nor I have made one and we should. Frank was well when we last saw him. He was due to go to his daughter's for lunch when they found him. Death can come suddenly, without warning, and we really should tell people what we want. And it will make a damn good post - watch this space!


Should I die before I make a proper will, I want a natural burial in a recycled cardboard coffin. I want four people, Deb, Martin, Mark and Justin to perform a task each: I want them to burn a picture of me and drop the ashes in one of four places, they will know who drops what where: The Alhambra, Capel Curig, The Newshouse and Stanage. I want Portishead (Only You), Radiohead (High and Dry), U2 (one) and Barber's adaggio for strings to be played during the sad bit. No prayers, no hymns. And I'd like it webcast live on my blog. In the evening I want people to get drunk and laugh for me and with me and at me, to the sounds of The Stone Roses, Arctic Monkeys, Nirvana.

Deb gets everything and if she's not around the kids share it equally.

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