Funeral for a friend

Yesterday, I went down to Newbury for John Fairfax‘s funeral. John Moat gave the funny and almost unbearably poignant opening tribute. Moat and Fairfax were Arvon‘s co-founders, and were best pals for almost as long as I’ve been alive. What I found so moving about Moat’s address was the thought that everybody always thinks of children and partners at times like these, but few people think about what death means to close friends. Moat was clearly heartbroken, which did not, of course, prevent him from taking the piss out of his old friend. When in thirty odd-years time (insh’allah) I give the oration at Perry‘s and Wee Boab‘s funerals, I only hope that I can be as funny, honest and moving.

There was a smashing funeral tea at The Bull in Stanford Dingley after the service. In the public bar, you can still play Ringing The Bull, a game which I found all but impossible, but which reminded me that my father used to live in this part of the world. In his old local, in Harwell (which is part of Oxfordshire now, but which was in Berkshire pre-1974) they played Aunt Sally, a very odd game indeed. Perhaps odd games are a Berkshire thing.

Driving back in darkness from Newbury towards Oxford on the A34, I was reminded of how impressive Didcot Power Station is, by day or night. The fumes from the cooling towers glowed a daemonic sodium yellow; my father used to say that however ugly Didcot Power Station might be, the sight of it always let him know that he was almost home.

Anyway… here’s a clip of my favourite drummer; should cheer us all up.

~ by Ian Marchant on January 27, 2009.

6 Responses to “Funeral for a friend”

  1. Talking daemonic fumes, here’s a link to a photograph taken near Didcot power station.

    The Volcanic Springs at Didcot

  2. Hello Ian, I do enjoy a good funeral. Prefer them to weddings actually. Probably because they are usually for keeps. And somehow, there is something romantic and touching about ugly industrial architecture at such times. I don’t know why.

  3. Thinking of pubs – I was starting to wonder the other day if the TV sereis ‘Oz and James’ drinking tour of Britain’ or whatever it is called – is a bit of a rip off of The Longest Crawl, although I must say the Longest Crawl is a darn site more interesting, and almost certainly more witty!

  4. I haven’t watched Oz’n’James. Because I always find that Oz invests booze with too much anthropomorphic baggage. It’s booze. It can’t be chheky or sullen.
    The programme probably is a rip off of Longest Crawl though.
    Ian, your comment has been commented upon.

  5. Graham – in fact that is the point James May makes regulalry (about Oz) – so at least that is recognised. The prog is pretty lightweight, but does have some amusing moments. James May is, IMHO, the acceptable face of Top Gear (but only just)

  6. Dan, I thank you. I don’t watch Top Gear either, but I have a son who does.

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