Monday, 17 March 2008

Bermudas and a Hearse


We said our goodbyes to Sergio on Saturday at the godforsaken village on the Plain of Lombardy where he lived. The whole place is permeated by the smell of cowshit, drifting over from the huge sheds just outside the village where some 500 head of cattle, who never see the light of day, are kept. We went to pay our respects to him, laid out in his house. He had often been laid out in his house before but never in a big box, surrounded by candelabra, with a chiller running to keep him fresh and a bloody suit and tie on. At a quarter to three the undertakers arrived, asked people to leave, closed the shutters and then sealed the coffin. Prior to this however they spent a couple of minutes taking the suit off and dressing him as he had requested: in a pair of his favourite Bermudas, a particularly hideous Hawaiian shirt and mirror shades. They then loaded the coffin in the back of the hearse - quite like the one above, but even more Italian with an illuminated crucifix on the roof, and (inside) uplighters, downlighters and, most probably, sidelighters as well and hidden exterior loudspeakers. It then moved off, very slowly, with the priest leading the way kitted up with a radio mike chanting a rosary which the hearse broadcast to the mourners following behind. What technology! After the funeral service we again went through the same routine for the trip to the cemetery. All the shops had their shutters down as a mark of respect. Bar owners in the village could be seen openly weeping, both for the loss of Sergio and the accompanying and significant loss of income.

14 comments:

cindy incidentally said...

How do you propose to go Ron?

Tommy 3 jags said...

Respect to Sergio. I raise my French Grappa (Marc) to him. The world needs these characters, they are real.

Justin Savage said...

Cindy; Ron will never die. He will liveth on in thyber thpathe.

Tommy: I have a bottle of Marc d'Auvergne in front of me as I post, and very fine it is too.

Ron: cool hearse.

Peter Ashley said...

Sad, but brilliant eulogy Ron.

Ron Combo said...

Good question Cinders. I'll have a think.
Off the gin now are we?

Camilla Jessop said...

Hallo Ron, and commiserations. It was good that your friend was buried in clothing he liked. When we buried Grandad, we purchased a brand new pair of Dunlop Green Flash plimsoles, so he could be buried wearing the left one, and meet his Maker dressed as he always was in life (see my Blog). However, there was some discussion as to what to do with the right plimsole - this having no significance for the Jessop family at all. I seem to think it remains in my collection somewhere. A pity that Heather McCartney wasn't on the scene then.

Peter Ashley said...

Oh Camilla, you're back safe and sound. How was Aunty? And did you have to de-coke the Guildford Speedster on your return?

Funny thing, Alois re-surfaced today too.

Peter Ashley said...

Just in case anyone's remotely concerned about where Ron's got to, I had a text yesterday saying his computer had run out of coal, and he was taking the respite from blogging to go to some seedy bar in Genoa. Doubtless we'll soon be shown a blurred shot of an empty grappa bottle resting up against the red stiletto heel of a new drinking companion.

Diplomat said...

One of the best pub crawling vehicles from my youth would have to have been a mate's Daimler Double Six hearse - that cobbled BL v twelve, whilst a tad slappy developed enough torque to liven up many an evening - I do remember sliding bottles of Jack Daniels, saloon bar style, along the polished coffin deck - no spitoons though.

Peter Ashley said...

Ooh yes. Let's keep all this going, so that when Ron signs-in again it's like coming back to your house and finding you've had the burglars in.

Fred Fibonacci said...

Hands up any Bloggers who know and love 'Harold and Maude'? This scurrilous and very funny movie features an 'E' Type hearse. It'll turn up on Film4 soon. Well worth a look.

Urban myth?

When I worked on Leicester market in the 70s, a fellow stall-holder told of a neighbour's traumatic camping holiday in Scotland. The Granny died at the camp-site. The local, Scottish, undertakers made an excellent job of preparing her for her final farewell. However, the cost of transporting Gran and coffin back to Leicester in their DS420 hearse looked prohibitive. They, the undertakers, suggested the family took the coffin in their folding-roof tent-trailer. Undertakers in Leicester would then take over and the funeral could take place in Granny's home town.

This made perfect sense, and all parties got on with it. One can imagine the family's dismay when, emerging from a Happy Eater an the A1, they discovered the camping trailer gone, nicked. Neither trailer, nor Gran, were seen again.

I'd love that story to be true. I now await myth-demolition.

Toby Savage said...

Just looked on ebay and there are many copies of Harold & Maude, all under a fiver. may have a weak moment any second now.

Peter Ashley said...

I don't know Harold or Maude, but will find out about them. But I have heard the granny story before, but in my version she was rolled-up in a carpet. On a French holiday. Does this help?

Fred Fibonacci said...

Peter, yes, that's very helpful.

One hopes, through the Power Of Blog, to discover the source of this fable. I await confirmation of Gran being transported in a blanket of bound reeds, along a busy wagon route sometime after the Norman Conquest: "We onlie stopped forr two piynts of foaming ayle and some mead forr the chidlers, and wun we cayme out, she wus gonn".

Also helpful was the legendary, and robust, Hallaton Bottle Kicking. Markedly absent was one P. Ashley, stalwart of that Parish, but at least I didn't have to drink any Chinese beer.