Homecomings, Happenings and Caught Out.

Last Sunday ( Father’s Day) my nieces arrived bearing gifts and cards. More importantly they also brought Ju home. I’d left her ashes with the undertaker until a time I could cope ( and until I’d paid for the funeral which now requires a second and third mortgage). Karen passed me a carrier bag which was surprisingly heavy. When I opened it I had a surprise and not a pleasant one. How can I describe it best…….well, you know Heinz beans now do one called the fridge pack which is a green plastic square bottle? Think of this as the giant economy model. An ugly green bottle with nothing attractive about it. “It comes with  the carrier bag” Karen told me, probably in an attempt to cheer me since she knows that I try to fill all my bags when shopping and a new one added an extra bit of fun to the game. I placed my love amongst the flowers that surround her picture but though massive, it was almost lost in the greenery.

Yvonne and Ugo came to visit and were about as impressed as I was and had been my ‘brother of another mother’ Mike who was here when the girls came. Mourners 5, Green Tub 0 so far. I left them all chatting and disappeared to my computer to look for a suitable casket. Oddly enough on ebay I found a supplier to the funeral trade. I found a casket I liked and was happy that for a few shillings more they would supply a plaque complete with my own words. I paid less than £40 for it and that included postage.


This is a picture of the one I chose. Looking at the same one in an undertakers catalogue I find they charge £80.00 for the same one. No wonder funerals are such costly  affairs. Anyhoo, I ordered it on Monday and it arrived on Thursday. Fortunately this was the day Yvonne and Ugo were visiting again and I was able to ask Yvonne if she’d like to help Ma slip into something a bit prettier. She jumped at the chance. We did the job in the kitchen and as I poured a little dust was raised. ” Your Mum won’t be happy about that ” I quipped, “it’s the longest she spent in the kitchen in years.” It broke the tension nicely and until that moment I hadn’t realised we both had tears in our eyes. If the dust got stuck in those we’d be in trouble. After finishing and attaching the plaque which just said “Julia, 15.07.1956 to 30.03.2013” she was placed on the table with the flowers I refresh every week,




Here is Ju in her new home.

Time to backtrack a bit now. I apologise to those who suffer travel sickness but we’re going back to Tuesday. Regular readers will know that I never answer the telephone and rarely answer the door. The main exception to answering the door is my postman. He’s one of those very nice, very cheery people it’s a pleasure to  speak to and I can do it virtually without stuttering. Just recently he’s had to come quite often with goodies ordered from ebay. On Tuesday morning I saw him go past the lounge window and moments later there was a knock on the door. I answered only to be confronted by a little chap with rugs upon his arm. “Wanna buy a rug Guv’ner” he said, though actually he didn’t sound Cockney at all in truth, it just looked better on the page. Having expected the postman I was quite distracted but managed to decline his offer. Somehow he was standing inside my hallway and I was looking over his shoulder for my post as he suggested I might prefer some bedding maybe ? Again I declined and told him rather distractedly that I’d only have been interested in a runner.

The Postie arrived and he handed over the parcels of the day. I thanked him and passed him some sweets for his family. The little man meantime had taken his rugs and gone….or so I thought. As my Postie turned to go. back the man came this time carrying two runners. He waxed lyrical about the quality, how the wool went all the way through and how good  length they were. In truth they were quite nice and I decided to have one. “The price?” I asked. “Well, they’re worth £240″ he said ” but I won’t ask for that. I’m asking for £120 because I know money is in short supply.” I’m surprised he knows my income so well. ” You’ll have to do a bit better ” I told him and we eventually agreed on £80.00 It’s 5 yards long and a tad longer than my hallway so I asked my brother Dilwyn if he could fit it for me since it would need trimming into an alcove.” Sure” he answered, “I’ll take a look tomorrow evening”.

Wednesday evening arrived ( sorry about the jump ahead travellers) and with two wins to one under his belt at Scrabble and a look of satisfaction on his face, my ‘Bro’ took a look. I confess to standing with fingers crossed in case he said it wasn’t wool or that I’d been ripped off. Maybe even told off for not asking him to get me one which he could have done much cheaper. Nothing. He just said he’ll bring his tools along next Wednesday and something to stop the runner sliding when anyone steps on it. I must remember to get him to do it before we play next week in case the score goes in my favour again.

OK. Ready yourselves……we now skip ahead to Thursday. This is the day of the MuJo visit. Muriel likes to look at properties for sale so I always buy the local rag ready for her visit. I managed to walk as far as the corner shop to get a paper and to throw my money at the government in the form of lottery tickets. I specifically asked Pauline to sell me the winning ticket this time but after checking on Friday and last night  I know she hadn’t. So anyway, MuJo arrive. As always she grabs the paper to read as I sort out drinks. I’m just taking John’s coffee through when Muriel says ” Oh be careful, there’s a warning here about a man going door to door selling carpets in this area, and he’s ripping the elderly off.” The elderly? That must rule me out then, I must  have had a different man.

On Friday Mike arrived again. We had a good natter after I fed him and I worked on emails till late.

Saturday. Mike took me shopping and then we went to ‘Let me Tempt You’ ( in the books) which is Temptation for coffee. We took the usual box of chocolates for the staff. A bit like coals to Newcastle I think sometimes as they sell individual chocolates there. We then dashed home as a cousin had promised a visit and had hinted that he was going to Stockport first. In my excited little mind this means only one thing TITTERTON’S PIES. The best pork pies in the world. Lo and behold he arrived with his partner and another of my cousins complete with a bag of 6 pies. Now where can I hide them? Too late, Mike got them and placed them in the fridge. It was a short but great visit with them all and I got some excellent family tree information I needed. In the afternoon Mike and I went to a place called the Tweed Mill for lunch and to give me a pleasure outing which really just means shopping. It was fun.


Titterton’s Pork Pies. The best Pork Butchers in the world in my opinion and unbeatable pies. Ahem, (I think this amount should just about do the job for this week Gentlemen). Not that I am looking for sponsorship of course.




Sunday- today.Emails kept me going from 5.am to 9.am then after giving Mike a coffee it was back to the computer to bring you up to date with my life. Mike has to go soon to travel to Manchester to see his father and I must get dressed because today I’m lunching with two ladies……….


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38 responses to “Homecomings, Happenings and Caught Out.

  1. The casket looks lovely David, as do the flowers. I know what you mean about the plastic bottle thingie. Mum and Dad were cremated as well but they were buried in a lovely rose garden so I figured they wouldn’t mind. -hugs-

    • I couldn’t bury Ju in a rose garden as she always managed to kill plants. Here she can just look at them. Anyway, I want to see if the casket frowns when the runner is laid as you know she disliked carpets.
      So far Yvonne told me not to flick my ciggie ash in the casket and claim Ju’s putting on weight and when I first put her there I managed to knock over a vase of flowers so I knew she didn’t approve. Fresh ones only from now on.
      I’m sure your Mum and Dad love it where they are, especially when you visit them.
      xxx Hugs xxx

  2. Martine Kaufman

    Love your humour. Big hugs to you. Martine x

  3. David, a great choice for Ju to rest and look at her flowers. My parents were cremated, and they are buried side by side in a cemetery. I visited them on Father’s Day. My brother did Mother’s Day. They’re set for awhile.

    Do be careful on that runner.

    I’m picturing your “pork pies” as what I might call a pasty/pasties. Yes? No? http://whatscookingamerica.net/History/PieHistory/Pasty.htm

    Have a great day.

    • It’s really nice that you’re keeping the family together like that Mary J. My parents are also close together in the grounds of the crematorium along with my sister and her husband. Yvonne will make Sure Ju and I stay together.
      Thank you, I’ll be careful to wear velcro on my slippers.
      I’m adding a picture of my Titterton’s pies to the blog so you know what I mean.When I say MY Titterton’s pies, that’s just wishful thinking though this lot should do for supper.
      Huge Hugs xxxx

  4. I’m glad Ju is home and in a proper bed. I think it’s pretty. It does sound like you have a few people stopping by still. That’s good. I don’t want you being alone all the time. If I were nearby we’d take time out in the garden when it was nice and play games or just sit and talk… I know, I’d talk my head off and you’d listen and patiently smile. Then you’d talk some and we’d start over. Most of all we’d laugh. I do wish I had a travel machine!
    massive love n hugs xoxoxoxoxoxo

    • Hi Spidey, can’t you see if Captain Kirk and Scotty have a spare Beam me up’ machine kicking about, I’m sure it would do to transport from place to place- having written that, I now remember they were called transporters DUH ! I’m sure if you were over here we’d sit aand chat and play Balderdash whether itwas in the garden or not, judging by today’s weather it’;s more likely to be not.
      You can talk the hind leg off a donkey but that’s OK because I can listen the hind leg back on again..It is nice though that I have one day out a week at least usually and a midweek evening visit that means I can stop talking to myself for a while because I don’t believe much of what I tell myself anyway.
      Keep well. Huge Hugs.

  5. If I go to Wales some day, I’m going to knock. I’ll bring something lovely with me to entice you to open the door. I will not sell you a carpet. Lovely casket, and lovely shrine. Blessings.

  6. Catherine Johnson

    You are so funny! I wish I still lived in England, my dad used to live in Wales I ‘m sure he’d love to talk to you. The casket is lovely, David. I hope you don’t feel ripped off, i wondered the same about some guy canvassing for the blind the other day, he did look shifty 😉

    • Thanks Catherine. What part of Wales did your Dad live in. I’m sure I’d have enjoyed chatting with him and with you too when you visited.
      I didn’t feel ripped off until Muriel read that out to me, I thought I’d done well up to that point. As my brother didn’t call me a senile old fool I can’t have done too badly.
      As for thr guy canvassing for the blind, why’s he doing them out of a job, they should canvas themselves ! Then you can place your doorbell 6 inches from the ground and if they find it you know they’re crooks.
      Huge Hugs xxxxxxx

  7. Lovely casket. My aunt (the original Tadie) came home in black, instead of green, plastic. We took part of the ashes to scatter off her sailboat and found an antique and very lovely urn to bury the rest of the ashes. Mama had her eye on a gorgeous ceramic vase of mine, but I steered her to the antique shops, which may have upped the price tag, but it least it didn’t ravage my small collection!

    Glad Julia has a place of honor. My step-sister sculpted a bronze portrait of her father, a copy of which resides in our hall. It’s lovely to pat his bald bronze pate and say a word or two when we pass him.

    • I’m horrified to think what people who have only just lost someone may feel when confronted with a plastic jar. At least the profession could find a more appropriate shape if they”re too mean to provide a decent receptacle. I’m so glad you didn’t lose one of your precious collection to your mother though I’m sure you wouldn’t have begrudged Tadie.
      What’s surprised me since this happened is that I found there are many very small caskets available so that lots of family members could keep some in memory of a loved one, there are even lockets for both necklaces and bracelets, in fact Yvonne is considering one to wear when giving birth so that she feels Ju is there with her. I”ve no doubt she would be anyway, trying to hold Yvonne’s hand and telling her when to push. That would be excellent as it may save Ugo’s fingers being crushed as mine were.
      Your step sister must be very talented. I can’t help but think the couple of words you pronounce as you pass by would be “Hello Pat”.
      Sending you massive Hugs and hopes of a great response once the countdown is over.xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  8. My daughter collected Robert’s ashes in a very fine box and they resided in her wardrobe for a couple of years until my son-in-law called time and a decision had to be made as to what to do with the ashes. My choice was to go north with the family and rent a boat to scatter them where he used to fish for Marlin but my daughter wanted somewhere that she could visit so we decided on the rose garden in the local cemetery. We had a very lovely little ceremony with just the family present and then went off to lunch. A much better day and a much better farewell than the actual funeral.
    And your rug – is it a fake and if it is do you still love it?

    • I think your choice to place Robert somewhere he can be visited is a nice idea but it’s sort of a shame you couldn’t have scattered a few in his favourite fishing grounds too.
      I’m sure when we had to discuss the funeral with the undertaker there must have been mention of a box for the ashes. It was probably all a bit too raw at the time and no doubt I just said something like ” Oh, the standard box” or something, so the plastic bottle is my fault, but at no time do I remember anyone saying “Oh that’ll look like a fridge pack of beans”.
      The ceremony you had to lay the ashes must have been lovely ( even if tearful ) since everything wasn’t fresh in your minds, you’d have all been much more at peace. A little lunch afterwards would have been lovely. Perhaps we’ll choose that route for Ju one day with maybe some ashes sprinkled in the show ring with her beloved horses and near the plaque laid for her.
      Phew, for a minute I thought you could see the join in my wig……..I don’t think the runner is fake and yes, I still love it and don’t feel cheated. But no-one could get me out long enough to run me to a cash machine for money so they either took what I offered or did without.Those who take advantage of the elderly ( not that I admit to being elderly yet) are not nice people.
      xxx Hugs for you Judith xxx

  9. I can only imagine it was tough and good at the same time to have Ju home, and the scene in the kitchen when you made the changeover… I had tears in my eyes too, from laughing and crying.
    I’m glad Ebay offered up a suitable casket. The place you have made for Ju is very special, personal and at home. Somewhere for you both to anchor.
    As for the rest, you’ve given me a treat. I sneaked a few minutes of More Barsetshire Diary while I was waiting for the train this morning… my book club meet is looming and I really must finish Blood & Beauty. But much as I’m enjoying the dramas of the Borgia’s, Barsetshire and it’s simple pleasures calls to me 🙂
    Oh, and yes, that newspaper article definitely could have been about your carpet seller, it’s just that you’re not elderly so he didn’t chance his luck passing off a dodgy carpet to you.

    • You’re spot on Ella, it was tough and good to have her home again. I’d only just risked taking the ear plugs out so I couldn’t hear her nagging me about my smoking. Back in they go. Still maybe now the floor’s full I should use an ash tray? I wouldn’t mind but she’s a smoker too, or at least she was. At least she’s keeping her ash in one place.
      It’s actually nice to have her here to talk to, I’ll only panic when she answers back.
      Thank you for persisting with Barsetshire and still getting pleasure from it. And thank you even more for suggesting the man didn’t risk selling me a dodgy one because he didn’t find me elderly. Have you ever considered a job in the Diplomatic Corps ?
      Huge Hugs to you. xxxx

  10. Seeing the love shine through your charming narrative gets me a little misty.

    I have given written orders: cardboard box and then sprinkled in my meadow, even though it is against the law around here. But Julia’s site is lovely amidst all those beautiful things. Can you make me a few of those cabinets if you are not too busy fighting off the ladies? (As I have previously cautioned you about. . .)

    I also want further news of the runner from when your brother came to trim it. Did he approve of its quality?

    • Love Virginia? That’s fear you hear. Like all men I’m scared of my wife, or in my case maybe that’s scarred at least mentally.
      I think the idea of having yourself scattered in the meadow is wonderful only I hope you added that you have to be dead first. I don’t want anyone to jump the gun. I bet that’s illegal where you live too.
      Do you want the coffee table and the two cabinets to match while I’m at it? Ju chose them all and they weigh a ton. Still, I needed to upper body strength to see if I could actually catch one of those ladies you’d have me fighting off.No luck so far, they’re all too nimble.
      I’ll chance my arm on Wednesday and ask Dilwyn what he thinks of the carpet, maybe I’ll even take the earplugs out to listen to his answer.. Whatever he says, I have to live with it now. I’ll try and get a pic of it when laid though the light isn’t good there.( Its so that ladies who come to the door can’t see me clearly). I got my bus pass last week and looking at it, I’m surprised they ever let me out of prison cos’ I look like Convict 99.
      Huge Hugs to you. xxx

  11. We need a picture of this carpet once laid down properly! I think you got a good price for it, carpets are very expensive now and you paid a fraction of the beginning cost. I wonder what Lady Ju would have said about it? That box is beautiful, made me a bit teary. I love the picture of her resting place with the flowers. The plastic bottle is revolting. My cat was at least put in a nice box. I already told my husband to order an Envirobox and have the undertaker put me in it. It has a tree seed and once the ashes are in it, it is planted. The wrapping dissolves as the tree grows.
    Never had a pork pie before. It must be like our Turkey Pot Pies (although they have a crust on the top). Although most likely better as the picture is making my mouth water.

    • You must have been reading my mind Lori as I just said I’d try for a picture one he runner is down. I may only have paid a fraction of his beginning cost but I’m sure he inflated the value in the first place.We’ll soon know after my brother has laid it. It might be bald in the middle yet !! Ju might have been pleased at me getting a bargain but definitely not at buying a runner as she loved the laminate flooring because it was easy to clean.
      Ju’s casket is beautiful but I needed something secure to keep her in there, you ladies have a way of escape.
      I haven’t heard of the Envirobox and love the sound of it. Are there restrictions as to where it can be planted like there are over ashes being scattered?
      I can’t make the comparison between our pies but a turkey pot pie sounds as though it;s served hot? Pork pies are eaten cold like at a buffet. The meat is solid in the pastry so it doesn’t fall apart and my Titterton’s ones have aspic jelly for moisture. The pie crust is quite crisp but not burnt whereas the famous Melton Mowbray pies always seem burnt on the bottom to me. Titterton’s are the best pies I’ve ever tasted anywhere and considering they’re not Welsh it takes lot to get me to admit that. I’d send you one to try but it wouldn’t survive the journey…to the Post Office.
      Sending you Massive Hugs. xxxx

      • I don’t think there is an issue with the Envirobox as it is contained, but I haven’t looked at it for a bit!
        Turkey pies are hot. The more you talk about it the more I want to try it. I wonder if I could order some? I may look into Titterton’s website if they have one!
        HAHAHA I feel the same way about area rugs. They are a pain because they have to be swept and a lot of sweepers don’t do well sweeping area rugs on hard floors. We women look at stuff differently! I should post about my house. It’s a man’s dream and a woman’s nightmare.

      • I shall have to see if w have an equivalent over here as it sounds good.
        I doubt any pies would survive the journey to the US. You’ll have to win the lottery and make this a port of call to try them. They do have a website though http://www.tittertonsgoodfood.co.uk/pies.htm
        LA La La, I have my fingers in my eyes so I can’t read the next bit.As though it matters to a man about rugs being difficult to sweep, we just do it with a stiff brush and then let the hoover do the rest. And ALL men know women think differently which seems to be why we get into trouble so often, for not understanding female logic ( or lack thereof).It always escaped me why Ju would use a particular garage for petrol when the juice was so much dearer until I found it was because they gave points which she could redeem in another shop for Christmas gifts.We’d have saved money getting cheaper petrol sand buying the gifts at normal price.
        Yes, post about your house and tell me you have rugs on your wooden floors. xxx Huge Hugs xxx

      • HAHAH “I have fingers over my eyes”…..Hilarious about Ju and the gas station! I don’t do that (Im too cheap), but housecleaning is a weakness ( Im a little OCD). I will look at the website, if only to gaze longingly at the pies. Hugs to you!

  12. I love when you post photos with your always great posts, David. It’s a beautiful piece, and your narrative brought me to tears and made me laugh later, which is your gift. I’m reading ‘The Barsetshire Diaries’ and it’s amazing. You really have a powerful gift, David.
    I’m always excited when my email tells me there’s a new post here. It’s guaranteed I’ll love it.

    I want to see the carpet too. Please post some pics, okay?

    Lots of hugs.

    • If I listened to you Renata I’d never get my swollen head through a doorway.Mind you, I could listen to you saying nice things like that all day. You’re an absolute Sweetie and In hope by the time you finish the book you haven’t decided to stop visiting me here. xxx Huge Hugs to you as always. xxxx

      • Never, I’ll be visiting forever! If anything, the book will make me come more often!! 😀
        I wish I could visit you in person… Maybe if I win the lottery tomorrow… Wish me luck, please!

        Hugs from Brazil.

      • I wish you masses of luck. Wish me luck too please since it’s ours tomorrow ( unless I won the Euro one tonight) and I’d be very interested to see Brazil.We’ll just have to time visits so that we don’t pass like ships in the night. xxx Huge Hugs xxx

  13. Another enjoyable post, David. I’m glad you are moving forward a little at a time.

  14. Hi honey 🙂

    I’ve nominated you for a blog award, but please don’t feel obligated to accept. If you do, you can find the info here…



  15. I’m still laughing at the vision of you both in the kitchen, both desperately holding your breath while re-homing that important dust. That, and the comments above, have cracked me up, (ciggie ash and putting on weight 😀 )

    Hugs for you. 😀

    • I’m hanging my head in shame at the lack of respect. What I should have said is “It wasn’t me, I didn’t do it”.I meant to write that Yvonne made those terrible remarks and then I forgot.
      Luckily she knows I didn’t mean harm or disrespect or I’d only just be getting out of hospital now. Sometimes you ladies can’t take a joke.
      Thanks for your kindness Metan. I send you Hugs xxxx

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