“I know this is a difficult question,” says LovelyFuneralDirector, “but have you thought about what you want to do with the ashes?”
She is a woman, by the way, this LovelyFuneralDirector. All three of the funeral directors we’ve met are women. As are both registrars, the minister and the train driver on the Yorkshire to London Express. Sisters are doing it for themselves. We just need one of us to find a cure for cancer and we’ll be well away.
Forty years ago this week, lucky travellers on the Liverpool Street Line were treated to the sight of Ma and I manoeuvring a sizeable, empty metal trunk on and off the train. I was about to start at Exeter and the trunk would soon be sent ahead with all that I considered precious: radio/cassette player, gold table-lamp with orange shade and books from the reading list, some of which still sit on my shelves, spines barely creased.
“The ratio of the shear stress to the strain rate in a fluid is commonly known as what?”
The students confer; Young Fogey whispering to Phiz Illustration while Hockey Captain checks with Normal Looking Kid. There’s a lot of confident nodding. Paxman looks confident too, but then he has the answer in front of him.
Meanwhile, I’m trying to understand the question. A-level Physics was forty years ago and the only thing I remember now is Mr Hurst setting his jacket on fire by pocketing his pipe while it was still alight.
The individual words make sense; it’s the underlying meaning that has me fogged.
In the sliver of time between waving off the last child for their summer holidays, and coming back for the ‘do’, it occurred to me that I should have prepared a speech.
Last time I left Thrush Woods, I’d given quite a lot of thought to what I was going to say. A neat little speech at the Leavers’ Service in the afternoon. The last eight years have been very special, the school is very special, the staff are very special but I need a new challenge. So long and thanks for all the fish.