Tomorrow sees the scattering of my father's ashes in the Garden of Remembrance. A friend has assured me that each day at the crematorium a single furnace is lit and all the day's coffins put in it together. I suggested, therefore, we should seek a DNA test before scattering what were alleged to be our father's ashes. But my two sisters reconciled their Catholic-Jewish differences and overruled me. The sisterhood.
The gate of the cemetery in which the crematorium is to be found is virtually opposite the gate of a park in which my father used to play golf both Saturdays and Sundays. Occasionally, under duress, I would caddy for him and when we left the park and drove past the cemetery my father would always say “You know, that's the most popular place in town. People are dying to get into it.” And then, “You know that it's the dead centre of town.” I hated this ritual. So, what do I do now when I drive past it with my daughters? You've guessed it. I enjoy the groans.
As Executor to my father's will, I spent most of the day dealing with lawyers and the Land Registry over the documents required for me to obtain Probate. Or, rather, I didn't. I actually spent less than an hour on the phone and the internet, filling in application forms and getting almost instantaneous replies. I actually spent more time chucking out 99% of the papers my mother had accumulated over the last 10 years.
What can one say about the panoply on show in Rome and the massive media attention being accorded to the Papal circus? Well, one thing at least – If he returned to earth now, Jesus would surely find the wealth and extravagance of the Catholic Church far more offensive than a few money-lenders in the temple.
Talking of the Catholic Church . . . I think we can safely assume that sexual abuse didn't just start in the 20th century and that it's been happening since whenever priests were required to suppress their sexual drive under a vow of celibacy. I believe this was an 11th century development, so let's take a thousand years at an average derived from 20th century numbers. And we arrive at 'rather a lot'. Again, surely not something Jesus would be proud of. Even if he did know it was going to happen.
Well, the multicultural linguistic tide may be turning here in the UK. Readers may recall that, when I was in Leeds last year, I noted that leaflets from the Council were available in at least 12 languages. This was always crazy but the political situation may now be such that one is finally allowed to say so. According to the Secretary for Communities and Local Government, translating documents is “very expensive and a poor use of taxpayers’ money”. I'll say. Not before time, he also said that providing translations “actually served to divide communities rather than unite them.”
Finally . . . The street I forgot last night was Hope St, where I and my friends attended the HQ of the 28th Wallasey scout troupe. And where we rehearsed for our fantastic annual Gang Show at the Floral Pavilion, down on the New Brighton seafront. Those were the days, eh KK?