Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Circle of Life

The day I walk past will be the day the
engineers haven't checked the metal supports

So, this weekend we all trooped up to my home town to see my dad. It's easier when he comes to stay with us but if I didn't go back I wouldn't be able to visit Mum's grave and, to be honest. I quite miss the place.

It's a lovely town with some very pretty streets, the only inland funicular railway in Britain and a castle that leans at a greater angle than the Tower of Pisa (sounds like "Where was I" in the Sunday Times travel section). What more could a town ask for I hear you ask? Some action perhaps? Nothing ever happens. The lack of activity is evidenced by the news in a more recent edition of the local paper that the town council has pledged a whopping 600 quid to spruce up one of the town's roundabouts and a kitten was rescued at the end of the famous annual charity walk. There's even a  weekly column called " I Hear That" which is supposed to be made up of snippets of interesting and amusing "news" but is actually comprised of things like "John Jones of Victoria Road put his kettle on a 9.09pm last Wednesday after he had watered his courgettes" and "Lilian Lewis of Hospital Street was surprised to find her living room curtains open when she arrived home from an evening in The Black Horse  on Tuesday until she realised she had actually forgotten to close them". Apart from the odd scuffle in the High Street on a Friday night when the local yoof have their manor invaded by outsiders from outlying villages, it's really quiet dull.

So imagine my shock, horror and intrigue when I rocked up on Saturday morning to discover there had been  a murder (3 outsiders have been arrested), an attempted murder (woman stabbed her husband which I have to say is fair enough), the Spar had been ransacked (Dad a bit cross when he ran out of pasta?) and the torrential rain that I had recently ranted about caused flooding (even drowning a man in a nearby village stream). And all in the space of a week. Nothing like that had happened since Johnny Rockstar had his throat slashed in front of drinkers in the pub I used to work in (don't get me wrong - it was a lovely pub, just got a bit unlucky one night, though admittedly not as unlucky as Johnny Rockstar). That was March 2001 - it rocked the town as Johnny was a bit of an icon. The guilty party (jailed for life), apparently appealed against his conviction 4 years ago on the grounds that it was unsafe - JRS could have lunged into his knife. Ermmmm........you just wouldn't would you.

So, as desperate as I was to leave the place, I've now decided I want to make it my eternal resting place. I've told The Boy that I want to be buried in the same cemetery as my mum and grandparents (it's won awards for being so nice though sadly that must be lost on the residents). He told me to tell my sister as apparently he's not planning on being around when I shuffle off my mortal coil. Given that he's not massively older than me I can only assume that he's planning on leaving me earlier than I thought he might or that he has taken my comments about wives stabbing husbands to heart and has (mistakenly I hasten to add) accepted that as his fate. Whatever the case, I want to make it clear, that's where I want to be. And thence there started an interesting conversation between The Monkey and Rat Rat (My Dad):

Monkey      Is Ratty buried in the garden with the cats? (Ratty is his name for my mum - no one in our family has normal names. In fact when we did the funeral flowers I had my tribute made in the shape of a giant rat)
Me              Er no.
Monkey      Is she here then, right under my feet? (disrespectful child, jumping around on my mother)
Me              Er yes
Monkey      Where do you want to be buried then Rat Rat?
Rat Rat       Oh, I've already booked it in
Monkey      What do you mean?
Me              Rat Rat wants to be buried with Ratty.
Monkey      Why?
Me             Because he loves her
Monkey     So, you've booked in then Rat Rat?
Rat Rat      Yes, that's right. I've told the people who need to know
Monkey     But how will they know exactly which day you're going to die?

A good question. And so it went on. This was shortly after he'd seen a woman in a fox fur and said "Mummy, that can't be a REAL hedgehog". Try wearing a hedgehog round your neck - likely to go the same way as Johnny Rockstar I would think.

So, as morbid as this all sounds, it isn't really. We can have a good laugh about mum though we can't bring ourselves to go through her things yet. That would feel like looting. I did have a quick look through her handbag collection on Sunday morning though (Dad made me) and I have my eye on a nice Luella clutch but I'm doing the right thing and waiting for Stick to come up so we can battle it out together with Dad refereeing. It might be quite difficult. She had exquisite taste in everything except her undying love for John Barrowman so we probably won't be fighting over her CDs.

By the way Mum, if you're reading this, where's your ipod? I can't find it anywhere.

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