The funeral was at the crematorium on the West road, so I got the metro and then the bus up there. I met Ian, who has gone bald since we last saw each other, back in Barcelona years ago, when he had dreadlocks.
There was a good turn out, well over a hundred people. I didn't realise Jim knew so many people. It was a humanist 'service' led by a woman I didn't know, and who talked about Jim and his life - she was very good, but as Ian said later, rather like a politician, 'with all the pauses in the right places'. There was stifled laughter when she spoke about Jim's garden and love of cooking with herbs... And we realised this was a coded reference to his love of a certain herb which he smoked.
At the end, everybody shuffled out, and that's when it hit me, we were leaving poor Jim in that cold place, in that box, to be cremated.
Then to a lad's house for coffee, and then to Jim's local, the Travellers in Brunswick Village. Exchanged phone numbers and email addresses with people. It's the good side of a funeral, I suppose, that the mourners can pick up threads with each other. Jim's daughter told me that he was smoking his herbal cigarettes even in the hospice where he spent his last two weeks. That was him. Never one to toe the line.
Heigh ho. I'd rather imagined Jim and I would get old together, have the ocassional pint and lament the state of the world. If anybody reading this has any Frank Zappa in their music collection, play a track or two for my mate, would you?
Thanks to John, Heather and Andrea
for dropping by with condolences.
And now, the funeral's over, let's get on with living.