The Farcical Funeral….part 1

Skipping back 5 months or so, not doing times and dates other than the 13th still being pretty unlucky for some. Not a superstitious person, even if it fall’s on a Friday. Will happily walk under a ladder, mainly because I’m a stubborn sort of person and really what else crap could happen that hasn’t already?

After several weeks and, what seemed like an eternity, it was all arranged. It took a long time because, firstly the body did a vanishing act as you know and secondly the local crematorium was shut for repairs or something so we had to ship off miles away. Only about 15 but his Dad became obsessed with the “route”. He must have plugged in that blessed sat nav and must have driven there and back about 30 times on 30 different “ways” of getting there, calling me after each trip to explain that a certain lane might not be the best or the tree on the A something or other road wasn’t very nice. Sigh. Keep explaining that the funeral directors do actually know where they are taking the now found body which is still thankfully in a fridge somewhere and hasn’t wandered off in frustration and please can he stop wasting fuel and time. Every trip he took, and rang me, thankfully was usually at the end of a day so the fridge was opened and the wine was poured whilst I heard about certain roundabouts being easier and we really shouldn’t go on a dual carriage way. Spend much time staring out of window and counting leaves on tree’s to pass time……he drones on.

Stand in kitchen, take a glug and wonder if his clutch will be up to any roundabout let alone him on a dual carriage way. They way he drives we might have to bung him in the furnace too.

The funeral directors are, by this point, close to closing up shop and running for the hills. Every single meeting to arrange things I make on time and then have to wait another 20 minutes for them to arrive. I’m not sure what they’ve been up to as they arrive looking like they’ve just had a serious bed romping session with hair all over the place, remind self that they live in a tip and are not the most groomed hygienic people I’ve met so it’s just their natural “Hillbilly” look. Much more pleasant than imagining the other. Eye’s start to water, am not sure if I’m about to cry with laughter, grief or frustration. Funeral directors really should offer a G with their tea as I sure could do with one.

I now make my own way as getting in that car again scares me to death. Discussions over which casket, which order of service, which picture take over 3 hours. Mouth is by now almost dried up and legs are cramping. As usual they seem more concerned about cost so point out that he really wouldn’t mind the cardboard jobbie although he did always want a log burner so it would be a final tick on his bucket list if they could push the boat out just a bit.

Amazingly patient registrar, lot’s of eye rolling from me and biting of lip from her. Final draft comes through with LARGE HEADING explaining that it’s got spelling errors etc in as it’s come directly via her audio thingumajig but she will get that amended for the service. So what does he do………..yes, spends the next entire day “amending” and then having the cheek to add bits.  Fume big time at this point as I’m getting close to combustion. Pour wine and decide to stick size 5 in, tell him I want Monty Python’s “Always look on the bright side of life” to be the song playing us out seeing as he overruled the Genesis track that actually meant something to the poor dead thing that’s still in a cabinet in the morgue and probably getting rather impatient. Almost faint when he agrees.

About 2 weeks now until the actual day so he’s busy”disorganising a wake”. Suggest several venues, all of which are shot down in flames. Seems that although the cost of the funeral is important, the putting on a “look at us show” is a bottomless pit. He finds flashy golf club place which is actually on the route between ours and the crematorium so decide to just go with the flow as really past caring at this point and liver needs a break. Politely decline offers to go with him as have been there several times and know it well. He goes nearly every day, counts car parking spaces, “test’s” various beers and wines on offer (dammit I should have gone and helped), rates bar staff, yes really and probably even checks under toilet seats for all I know. There’s attention to detail but there’s also insanity or possibly early onset dementia.

Manage not to squeal with laughter when he explains buffet costs. Deluded idea that possibly 500 people may come. Fridge man had lot’s of mates but not quite that many and even the related Hillbilly’s wouldn’t make up those sort of numbers. Suggest cater for 150 and if not enough then tough as they will have food at home should they be hungry. Number tennis goes on for several days, refuse to compile list as have no idea what the grapevine has jangled. Start to ignore phone and pretend to have very busy life.

Just when I think it’s all over, it’s not yet. The funeral procession. FGS.

Phone rings, see that it’s “him”, again. Sigh and retreat to kitchen. Spend a lot of time in kitchen, mainly because it’s out of earshot of small person and also because there’s wine and crisps and even tinned goods if kept on phone for so long that supplies run out, an actual concern nowadays.

Answer call, throw bag of crisps into living room to sustain small for a while and roll eyes, she grins and rolls hers back……..she’s got him sussed.

He explains that he’d like the procession to start at their house then pass where his son was born and stop for a few minutes. Wonder out loud why, as it’s not as if he’ll know or be able to look out. This doesn’t go down very well. Open fridge, look at wine, bite lip and try to listen. From there it will proceed 15 miles to where me and small person live to drive past. Bite lip harder and resist the urge to point out that the poor sod was probably sick to death of the view from ours having spent nearly two years sitting in a chair in the window. From ours it will then proceed a further 15 miles to the crematorium.

Church opposite chimes 6pm, wine o’clock, hurrah.

Throw large spanner in works by explaining to him that funeral processions drive at a very slow speed so to cover the amount of miles and stop’s required by his amazing plan would also require several hours and that I refuse to drive small person behind a hearse for longer than 30 minutes. He begs to differ, have visions of the hearse taking a short cut and hacking down the fast lane of the motorway with the coffin sliding from side to side as they change lanes to catch up with time, get giggles, sip wine and compose self.

Thankfully, funeral directors are on my side, they point out that it really isn’t feasible, phew. No funeral car has been arranged, don’t want one for me and small, would upset her too much. Also, after current experiences of other drivers, feel far safer in own car. It’s arranged that we will all meet in the car park of the church opposite at 1pm on the day.  All planned and we all know what we’re doing and what is going to happen……….

Yeah, because it’s all gone so smoothly so far eh?! Wine anyone?




An extra heartbeat in the house.

I’m going to skip forward 5 months to the present for this post, live in the day as people tell me! Farcical funeral will follow at a later date.

Small person and I have a house guest, another small scruffy creature to match the small scruffy creature that lives here full time with me. Both have hair that has a mind of it’s own, to be fair mine is usually pretty much similar (I do try but I always look like I’ve either had a great night in bed with someone (forgotten what that feels like, honestly think it’s sealed back over) or just that I’ve dragged myself through a hedge backwards…..the later is far more likely), and both have this amazing capability to either sleep, eat or bounce about like they’re on some sort of sugar rush or LSD trip. Thankfully both are house trained and will eat anything so that’s helpful. This small creature is half yorkie and half some other sort of terrier, has a little curl on the top of her head and a couple on what I call her “flaggy tail”. She’s a dear little doggy, only about 2 years old and with the same sort of “I can be fun but I’m also seriously my OWN character” so matches the other small to a tee.

My small person used to be terrified of dogs, no matter what size, if one came bounding over to us she would literally leap up and cling on to me (thanks, your pretty heavy now and that’s my back gone again) but the moment she met Stella she fell into some sort of doggy love heaven. If I can find it I’ll post a video of them playing Sax, let’s just say the playing the matched the singing!! She has this weird sort of infinity with animals, my parrot hates me, I’m sure it would honestly claw my eye’s out if it could and every time I try to even top up it’s food bowl it swings down with eye’s like something out of “IT” and takes a chunk out of my finger. Small person goes over and it asks for tickles and takes a grape out of her hand like she’s the second coming. I just feed it chicken, along with obviously all the things they should eat and love but it’s partial to a bit of chicken. It’s called Coco but I think Cannibal would be more apt. (It’s likes chips and peas too).

Anyway, back to the dog. There seem to be dog people, I like to think I’m one of them but for the ones I’m going to talk about I’m glad that normally we just have a mental cannibal parrot and an utterly pointless hamster. (Mum friends from school with dogs, this is NOT you because you are all sane and normal!) The local park where my parents live, it’s a great park, fantastic stuff for the kids to give you heart tremors on and loads of wide open space but the other dog walkers you couldn’t make up;

“The Dog Father” – yes, this is what he call’s himself and is known as. He’s a nice bloke, ex army and now just lives with a ludicrous amount of massive dogs. He always walks in his full cammo gear, big pockets full of dog treats and everyone seems to literally bow (wow, scuse the pun!) down to him. He likes my parents a lot and has mentioned he’d love to be their son in law…………….erm, no, quite happy to stay sealed over thank you, man in cammo trousers is not something I wish to consider or tackle the tackle with. He’s not my type at all and I always excuse us and rush off to the slides and life threatening play ground equipment with small to avoid him.

“The strange lady” – bless her but she is odd. She lives alone with her dog’s, divorced a drunk husband years ago so the afternoon walk is her life. She’s one of life’s complainers though, nothing is ever right or good or happy. The highlight of her day is asking what everyone’s having for dinner that night as she never cooks. “Oh no, my ready meals, I couldn’t even peel a carrot, I love my ready meals”. She also complains about feeling tired and not too good, not surprised if that’s what you exist on, resist urge on many an occasion to ask if she could manage to at least peel a banana.

“The, I know it all” – I look at this one with amazement, considering she walks a lot she’s obviously eating far more ready meals than the above lady or just existing on twenty cakes a day as she’s rather large. She’s the Delphic Dog Oracle, she knows……….honestly, she does, in her mind. She will argue over everything, colours, breeds because she KNOWS. I just bite my lip and every time I do that I end up thinking of Fifty Shades of Grey and then I get the giggles. I might no longer get any action but I have read about it happening and sort of remember!

They are the three that are always there, there must be some dog walking law that they demands they have to be. To be fair, being single is rotten so knowing you’ve got some point in your day where you will see people is a good thing. Going to take a pocket full of banana’s next time we go and maybe I might take a homemade meal ready to reheat too, because I’m kind like that.


The mind of a then 7 year old child….

I’ve not mentioned small person much so thought I ought to let you all know how she handled everything so far. She’s definitely a serious mix of both father and mother, she’s got his short temper at times yet can also spend hours and show amazing patience when required which is very much me.

She was woken that morning by my frantically letting the ambulance crew in and them stumbling over various boots and shoes in the dratted small narrow hallway. She came flying out of bed to see her Daddy heaving to breathe with an oxygen mask over his face and already grey by this point. My “I must keep this going” kicked in and I grabbed a couple of brioche, flung her dressing gown at her and took her downstairs to my amazing lovely friend and neighbour who immediately could tell it was serious this time. She happily went in as she’s so used to the unexpected arrival of ambulances and blue flashing lights and up until now it had only meant that he’d be carted off to hospital for a few days and she’d get to sleep in my bed and eat McDonalds for tea on the way home from Oxford, simple things that make them so happy. “Don’t tell Daddy I had a cheese burger for 2 nights running as he’ll moan about rubbish food again, can I have one tomorrow too after we’ve visited?”. McDonalds was our saviour on most of his hospital stays, it takes nearly an hour to get to Oxford from her school so by the time I’d driven back, collected her and then driven back again it was far too late to start bringing out my inner Nigella. To be fair, I’m a pretty good cook, I love cooking and although I’m not James Martin most of our meals are freshly made and contain lot’s of veg and all the good healthy stuff.  I remember back in the baby weaning days following a recipe where you have to shove a banana though a sieve………..never try this!

Anyway, she was happy and having fun with my neighbour and her lovely little boy so I shot upstairs, found her uniform and running gear as she does a running club on a Thursday morning and frantically messaged another lovely friend to see if she could pick her up for me. He’d died by now so the adrenalin had kicked in, I think my levels were now higher than his as they’d pumped so much into him. I went back down, got her ready and when she asked about how Daddy was I just said “he’s still with the ambulance men sweetie”. I didn’t lie, but I couldn’t tell her, it hadn’t sunk in for me yet and I knew and felt that the best thing I could do (sometimes I do think rationally!) was to get rid of her in the nicest possible way so I could deal with what had to happen next. Both friends that helped me that day have names starting with a K, only just thought of that, how strange. The 2nd lovely and amazing K of the morning came and collected her, gave me a hug and a wink and a sort of communication that only us women can do so she knew that he had gone. I felt so relieved that small person was off and safe and non the wiser that I could have kissed my friend but she’d probably have thought I was mental and I hadn’t cleaned my teeth either so wouldn’t subject anyone to that!

You know how the rest of the morning and early afternoon played out. Once I’d kicked the outlaws out and rolled up the rug and stuffed the throws out of site I rang the school and asked if I could pick her up 15 minutes early, I didn’t want to see anyone, I just desperately wanted her home. BUT, I knew she was expecting to be picked up and driven to Oxford and get a cheese burger for tea and some more plastic junk that comes in a happy meal. How on god’s earth do you tell a 7 year old little girl that her Daddy has died?

Well, not correctly according to her. I went into the office, they bought her over, she looked most confused. I got her to the car, she asked why I’d picked her up early so I  took a deep breath and said “I’m so so very sorry to have to tell you this but Daddy died this morning”.  Big blue eye’s looked at me for a millisecond and then she burst into hysterical tears. I can’t remember how long we sat in the car with me holding her but we got home somehow.

Once home all went back into a weird normality, she wanted a snack, a drink, watch some weird American lady on YouTube who does video things about plastic crap things that are the bane of my life and it was as if it was the day before when everything was normal. I’m hiding in the kitchen now, yes, there’s wine left thank god. There’s crisps too, I need to eat something and crisps will do for now, dunk crisps into wine, much better than making biscuits soggy in tea.

“Mummy, I’ve been thinking”. OMG, what about. OMG, you can actually think then if needs must. OMG I can’t think straight on a good day, please don’t be thinking anything to clever, not today.

“I think the way you told me was wrong. You should have started like this; when Daddy was struggling to breathe the ambulance men were trying to help him but even though they tried really hard they couldn’t help him and then he died, not the way you told me, it was too quick and you blurted it out, you could have done it better and also if he was dead why did you pick me up early as I was making a town with my friends in class and now I won’t get to finish it, you could have waited”.

I apologise and explain that I didn’t know how to tell her so it just came out. “It’s okay Mummy, but I’m just letting you know that you could have done better”.

Ever been hit round the head with a baseball bat? Me either but that was the metaphorical version.

I head back into the kitchen to top up the wine…………………she’s most certainly her mothers daughter. We’ll be okay, we’re team us and now closer than ever. I cook fresh food for dinner and we start our new journey together.


Registering a death, yet more fun

So, we need to register the death now, I’ll come and pick you up said decrepit FIL. Honestly, don’t worry, we can walk (was now half term so small was home and tbh it would be safer to walk in the middle of the road than get in his car). NO I insist, I’ll collect you both. He turn’s up, actually only 30 minutes late, because again things have happened that have held him up, blah blah bollocks. The man has never been on time for anything ever.

He drives quite a sporty little number but OMG I want to get out before we have even left and pulled out, his poor clutch must be crying with the over use and the rev counter is going sky high. Small person looks at me with large eyes and I just roll mine as we pull out into the main road at about 60000 rev’s and 2 miles per hour.

I know exactly where we are going but he insists on using his SAT NAV – they are wonderful things so I’m told, yes but really, to drive all of a mile or so when I  know exactly where it is, he must think women have no idea and can’t map read, he is a misogynist so I let it go. Tempted at this point to ask if Timbuktu or Hell have postcodes he can find. Lights go red, can smell the clutch screaming now as he rev’s constantly……………..we’re on a flat road you idiot, poor car. Roar away and thankfully we’re there within about 5 minutes with another set of lights and a roundabout just about navigated without causing further loss of life. Think by this point I’ve actually eaten a whole fingernail, should have had breakfast. Small is busily playing on my phone and catching Pokémon so all is okay in her world for the moment. I’m quite glad I’m still in shock and running on adrenalin because at this point it’s helping muchly.

I think for a millisecond that he’s being nice and polite and dropping us at the front door but no he’s actually parking there. There’s a huge sign that says NO PARKING and even double yellow lines but, his words “I’ve lost a son so I’ll park where I want”. This is the arrogance that’s got him in a bigger pit now than the Quatermass one, a story for much further on. We’re blocking the entrance for any nice people that might possibly have a wedding booked or need to register a birth, sigh. Does he care, no because he is more important and it’s not just the grief, this man would honestly argue with God that he knew better.

Registering a death, it’s a really simple procedure, you get ushered into see a nice lady who only needs a few questions answered and then you can leave. ONE AND A HALF HOURS IT TOOK., I kid you not. Small person, who has been amazing and brilliant and handled things so well, was almost off trying to climb the walls. There’s not many Pokémon to found in the town hall. “Mummy, how much longer, we’ve been here ages”. I apologise and try to move things along but no no no, bonkers him is now reminiscing about life when the boys were young and ……………yes, his health problems, I’m now keeping my fingers crossed that the testicle doesn’t get mentioned as I think the poor registrar might faint. There’s a pub over the road, I’m wondering if he’d even notice if we left as he’s utterly oblivious to anyone other than him and his massively over inflated ego, he might not even notice if the registrar comes too and we can just leave him there talking to the walls.

My eye’s now have gained the ability to automatically roll and I’m also biting my lip quite hard to stop from either bursting out laughing or screaming profanities at him.

Mummy, I’m hungry and bored and why is Gramps talking so much? I want to go home, NOW.

The next few agenda items go pretty quick as I explain that when my kiddo is hungry and it’s lunchtime then things can get pretty messy, I’m also looking forward to a vino and a good rubbing of eye’s session as they ache from all the rolling. I really wish I could raise an eyebrow, my sister can but I don’t seem to have inherited that gene, would be very useful right now.

Finally we exit, little folders of gubbins and leaflets and half a tree’s worth of stuff I will never want or even look at again but I’ve got the death certificate and……………which he is yet to find out, I have a will! He’s too busy grumbling about the cost of copies and why it’s not acceptable to get one and photocopy it when he has a very good photocopier (eye’s are rolling!), try to explain that it’s a legal document etc etc but Mr Scrooge is in full on Scrooge mode. Past caring by now and I’m sure if there was a thought bubble floating above my head it would have said something like “shut up you stupid waste of time and space, your making a hideous situation worse”. He’s yet to apologise to his only grandchild, infact I think he’s yet to even speak to her other than to say hello as he picked us up. This is quite normal, they take very little interest yet apparently adore her, they only ever shop in Tesco so every birthday or Christmas present is basically cheap or not something we would ever want or need. We have more plastic plates with Peppa sodding Pig on than is normal for a family with 18 children let alone 1 and don’t get me started with the amount of Frozen stuff.  They asked me what she’d like for her birthday, she turned 8 just 9 days after he died, I said a kite as ours seems to have been eaten by something that lives in our garage. Simple eh? A kite, one of those things on strings that you fly. You go onto some site like Amazon and just look up “kites for kids” and click and order……it’s 5 months since her birthday now and he’s still “looking about to see which is the best and most suitable”. I’m going to order one myself for her for Easter, sure it will take me all of about 10 minutes to decide and click. Let’s go fly a kite, up to the highest heights, I have visions of a stunt kite that you can make those dramatic dives with, only thing is this one is made from a large pole with him attached to it and I can crash land him, where tho?!





The chaos continues

Back briefly to the day the body was here, the coroners tell me that I will hear from them with a report and once that’s done I can register the death. Forgot to mention that we also had the police here too, if somebody dies at home they have to come to ensure there’s no foul play. Greeting them at the door with “Ello Ello Ello” probably wasn’t appropriate nor was “there were times when I could have killed him but I didn’t”. I wonder seriously about how my brain works at the best of times as it sure is not great at the worst. They were quite happy that I’d not murdered him thankfully and didn’t check my cupboards for anti freeze or arsenic. They did however make yet more cups of tea……….I could have filled the local swimming baths 10 times over in the amount of tea that got made.

So, several days pass and not a peep from the coroners. The GP call’s in a panic;

GP: We’re trying to locate Mr……….

Me: Erm, he’s dead, why, did he miss an appointment?

GP: No, we know he’s dead and we’re sorry for your loss, but we need to go and see the body to issue the paperwork you require to register the death.

Me: I was told to wait for the coroners to get back to me, they took him off in the black ambulance, I think they said there would be an autopsy.

GP: Okay, will call and find out where.

A couple of hours later the GP rings back in yet a more panicked state as they now cannot FIND the body. I secretly wonder if he’s gone to Norfolk and tell them that I never knew where he was at the best of times so how on earth would I know now other than where ever he is he’s not going much further. They promise to “find” him and get back in touch.

More time passes and another phone call, “we’ve located him”. Excellent news I say, how is he and then realise that’s a very silly thing, yet again, to say. They proceed to read details out which make no sense whatsoever. After about 3 minutes I realise that they’ve definitely located “somebody” but it’s most definitely not the right body, it’s not even the right colour or nationality. More panic ensues from their end. I point out at this point that there is really only one large hospital in the area so he’s pretty obviously in a chiller cabinet somewhere and would they like me to come and perhaps point out who is who and have a dig about because I could actually get the right person, also that as his GP she should remember what he looks like as she’s seen him enough.

For some reason I cannot stop laughing, I have this strange idea that he’s playing a sort of dead mans hide and seek as he was a bugger for just going off where he wanted when he wanted so even in death the sod’s managed to vanished. Briefly think about texting to ask him where he is but then remember that A. He doesn’t have his phone on him and B. He can’t text back. Check fridge, there’s some wine left, hurrah, pour a small glass and get the giggles again as this seems like something out of a soap opera.

Twiddle fingers, have a smoke and wonder how everyone can be so inept. If I’d have known I’d have got one of small person’s Sharpie Pen’s and written his name, DOB and address on his forehead so they’d know.

Nearly 5 hours later they find him, so they say, and all the relevant paperwork is done and sorted. Cause of death is stated as “Cancer”. Phew, I’m definitely off the hook then 😉 . I know it’s the cancer that got to him but “cause of final breath in my living room” was his heart giving up. As Celine Dion sing’s about it going on, his just couldn’t anymore.

Ring his father to just “quickly” let him know that we can register the death now and end up having to endure a 2 hour conversation, this time I get to hear about one of his testicles (honestly!) that is now about 4 times the size it should be. I’m no longer sure if I should laugh, cry or drink more wine…………






Finally I’m home alone and all I can do is stare at the living room. Tim was never one for interior décor, his theory was as long as the roof didn’t leak then all was good. The image of his body is now forever burnt into my eyes, they say never stare at the sun, well never stare at a dead body either as that’s just as bad for them. I’d tried many a time to get him to agree to a new carpet or flooring of some semi reasonable standard but he’d always told me it would take too much work and time. He was categorically lazy unless it came to his business where, when well, he’d spend literally 18 hours a day there but home, as long as there was a bed and food on the table, that would do. Within a couple of days it all changed, the “carpet” became like some sort of Turin shroud. “It’s carpet Tim but not as we know it”, even Scotty would have beamed up in fear of foot rot. There’s Klingon’s on my little toe……………….Thanks to my amazing parents we managed to rip up, chuck out, purchase and lay a brand new one within all of 4 hours from start to finish.  It was so very hard, not, shifting a bit of furniture about and the difference is beyond miraculous.

I asked small person if she’d like to keep the armchair that he basically lived, ate, slept and died in, even offered to have it re-upholstered for her in any colour she fancied as long as it wasn’t pink but she wasn’t keen. “He’s ruined it and I don’t like it, let’s throw it out of the window as I don’t think it will fit down the hall”. A girl after my own heart with the love of window usage…..he window is very useful as I’m sure you’ve gathered by now.  Fair enough and feel quite relived as it would always be an elephant in a now less like zoo. Tim’s Dad calls, this is the first of about 800 calls in the next 2/3 weeks that I have to look forward to, thankfully there is still wine in the fridge. He can never have a conversation where we get to the point, it always has to revert back to either his health (only so often you want to discuss hernia’s and blood pressure without your own rising dramatically) or days gone by or things that have zero relevance to man nor beast. This conversation actually included a very graphic description of him having to hold down a huge sow pig and put a bullet through it’s head when swine flu hit the farm…………..some point back in the dark ages and really not what you want to chat about a couple of days after a human death. Still, I finally managed to cut him off mid flow and asked if he could send someone over with one of the vans to pick up the chair and take it to the tip as my car is way too tiny to fit much in other than me, small person and lot’s of empty crisp wrappers.  HE came over, yippee. In person he’s about as hard to get rid of as a migraine and enough to cause one too. He wanted the chair to keep for himself, this, although weird, would mean that they actually had a decent bit of furniture (will explain another day about how they live, always expect to see them on Storage Hoarders or the Nightmare Neighbour next door). He’s pretty decrepit and although I’m pretty strong for my size we are once again in the grip of “a nightmare on narrow hallway” as it won’t fit. I suggest the balcony windows, not throw it but gently sort of lower it down on some rope. They are nice windows and open up from floor to ceiling, I really cannot see the problem but he feels this would be “disrespectful” – really, it’s a knackered arm chair that no sane person would give house room to. I smile and once again empty the hallway, no help offered. He then spots the kitchen and offers to do the left over dinner plates that I’ve not yet got round to from last night, I don’t think my water bill or sanity can cope. Thankfully it’s nearly time for the school run so I politely usher him down the now spacious hallway and resist the urge to push him as I open the front door. He leaves with a “will be in touch about the funeral, need to check out several funeral directors first”. This means he will spend at least two days procrastinating and writing emails that would make War and Peace look like a quick read before I take matters in hand and just make us an appointment at whichever is the closest.