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This is a question Putting the Fun in Funeral

Some deaths come suddenly or too soon and can really hit hard, others seem to be a blessed relief. Similarly, some funerals can be deeply upsetting and sad, others can make you want to hug the world.

Mmm, don't want to bring you down or anything, but tell us your funeral stories...

(, Thu 11 May 2006, 9:31)
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Torquay to Paris in a battered flowermobile
My Grandmother used to live in Paris. She died quite suddenly, and I really wanted to get to the funeral. Not only was she a very important person to me, but due to my Mum and Stepfather being wierd, I'd had very little to do with that side of the family, and hadn't seen my Dad (who lives in Hong Kong) for years.

We arranged for some friends to look after our two older children, 'phoned the passport office, who assured us that our youngest - one and a half at the time - could travel on his mothers passport.

We booked the ferry crossing online, and set off in our elderly diesel peugot 205 (which had recently been painted purple with multicoloured daisies) and started bombing up the motorway towards Dover.

The plan was that we would cross over to Calais and arrive in Paris within a day, and see my Dad and other rellies for a bit before the funeral.

a couple of hours after dark, we noticed that our lights were getting dimmer. Then they started going out intermittently. Then, all of a sudden, the engine died totally.

My wife had just enough warning to pull over into the little triangular bit between the main motorway and a slip road coming onto it.

We were towed to the nearest service station, where an AA man told us the alternator was playing up. He replaced a bit of it, and away we went again.

Unfortunately, he was slightly wrong, and we broke down again before we got to Dover. Another AA man got us going again, but when we got to Dover and tried to get on the ferry, they laughed at us for trying to take our son without his own passport.

So we had to go to London to get him a passport rushed up, which involved phoning the friends who were looking after our other 2 kids to find his birth certificate etc and go to a shop to fax them through.

After breaking down another couple of times, we got to the ferry with the passport and they allowed us onboard. Of course when we got to Calais, we had to bumpstart it, but we were ready for this, and had parked near the top of a ramp.

In Calais we had planned to find a garage to fix the dodgy alternator, but it was a holiday, so we had to take the risk of setting off up the motorway to Paris with no cover, and knowing that if we broke down we'd be arrested. We slept in the car before setting off in the morning and, somehow, we got there OK. Only the directions were awful and we got lost.

So instead of arriving 3 days before the funeral looking wuite smart, we arrived 3 hours before, looking like street people and bloody knackered.

To be greeted by my nutty aunt, who I hadn't seen since I was 10, in her undies. Her and my Dad were feuding somewhat, and both pretty drunk.

However, we somehow got ready and to the funeral on time, which is more than can be said for my cousin, who rushed in 15 minutes after the service started muttering about trains.

But it all came together in the end for an amazing service, held in the high anglican church she'd been a part of for about 30 years, which was, for some reason, underground. I'd visited it numerous times as a kid, but the atmosphere was just right for her funeral.

But then, of course, we had to get home again. I counted a total of 9 breakdown there and back. But it was worth it, even if I am still paying for it.
(, Wed 17 May 2006, 9:05, closed)

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