( Somerset Guardian Article )
Dad's funeral was on Saturday.
As funerals go it was good. It was at Haycombe Crematorium, which is on the outskirts of Bath, and the Chapel has one wall of floor to ceiling windows, looking out over valleys, and hills and fields. There were a huge number of people there, so many they could only just get everyone in, with most people standing. (And on a completely irrelevant note, my male cousins* [and cousin's boyfriends], are, en masse and in suits, rather an impressive bunch. My sister and I have decided to call them the Murrell Mafia).
My Aunt Jessie, who is a Ordained Local Minister (mister_jack
, have I got that right?) with the Church of Wales, took the service, which apart from anything else avoided the problem we had at my Grandmother's funeral where the minister pronounced my Grandfathers name Hywel as Howl, (whereas the old family pronunciation is Huel) and and his and Bammie's surname Murrell as Murr-ell
rather than Murrall.
Jessie spoke for a bit about Dad, then we had a chap known as Set, speak about his caving life, Angus Buccanhan (sp?) speak about his Industrial Archaeological 'career', and Dad's habit of popping up in unexpected places, (sometimes literally) and Phil Cullen speak about Dad's involvement with the Mining Industry, particularly the South Wales coalfield. Phil got a laugh by starting by telling us that he never expected to be speaking from the pulpit, as he was a Marxist. His speech affected me the most, as he talked about the Welsh Miners gratitude to Dad for recording their working life as it was, rather than how TPTB said it was.
We then played 'Cwm Rhondda' (Bread of Heaven), as a recording, which meant people could listen or join in as they wished. And one of the advantages of having Welsh Miners there, was that the song got sung properly. And quite a few people sang the last few lines that were repeated in Welsh too.
I then read Dylan Thomas' Do Not Go Gently
, as Dad always loved Dylan Thomas. I think a lot people weren't quite sure if I'd be able to do it, but it was something I needed
to do for Dad. The only place I had trouble was the last verse, and the last line ended up being rather rushed out, but I'm glad I did it.
We then had the committal and the Lords Prayer (My sister wanted the traditional committal with the Ashes to Ashes bit), and then were meant to have 'Measure of a Man
' read, but the tributes had over-run slightly so there wasn't time.
Then as we left the chapel we had the 1812 Overture playing, which was apt for a Man who loved playing with explosives. (Part of his caving days) It was something nearly everybody commented on.
There were a lot of people there who I hadn't seen since I was a child or in my teens, and there were two things everybody said to me - a comment on the twins and a comment on the colour of my hair, (an unnaturally bright red). It was nice seeing all these people again, but also incredibly awkward - I'm not very good at small talk, and how could I express to these almost strangers how I felt about my Dad dying?
We then went on to the Red Lion in Paulton, when we'd got sandwiches and coffee laid on for everyone. We'd also put together some albums of Dad
, and of his work, both caving and mining. (Incidentally, I found out that Dad is a theme
on the Gathering the Jewels
It was good, but painful, and made me aware all over again just how much knowledge - local, family and mining has been lost with Dad. He was a curmudgeonly old bugger but it's not going to be the same without him.
I'll miss you Dad.