Pat Raine’s funeral (April 2016)

Linda and I walked to the stones. Limestone? Through copses of woodland, left wild, ivy allowed to dally up tree trunks. Wood anemone carpet the floor. In a second copse an unusual yew wood, and old stone that would have made something, a wall of a house in it’s abandoned fallen pile, soft moss covering, returning now. Over fields to a sunken road now between two busy artuaries, the A57 and the rail north. Banks of wild garlic either side of a stream, some stems picked for cooking.

Richard’s Pat is different from mine. His life was Yorkshire rooted. Being a male, we agreed, contributed towards towards a less critical reception from Pat. While Kath was dropped off at Sylvia’s he was dropped off at Queensway. From there Pat would take him to the fair, where she was girl like, unafraid to go on the whirly gigs and roller coasters.

Richard drove us into Hull. We returned to where we’d been a month back for Sylvia, the crem. We were a modest gathering of friends from fragments from Pats life.

Richard began his address by making capital out of the hiccup at the start, the music late to start came in at the middle of first verse of the Lords my Shepherd.
‘She would have had something to say about that. Something like Bloody technology.

Richard’s comfortable confident public speaking cracked at the end, when he said the words he’d written, ‘I loved her’,  in that moment he actually did.

We repaired to the Willaby hotel, where 25 years ago, all generations had gathered to celebrate Hilda’s 100th birthday. I meet for the first time those whose names I’d heard through the ages, Anne, Pat’s god daughter, and Lesley her sole relation. Peter and Lenore, (last seen 30 years ago in Stratford), pointed me to David, the brother of Ann, through whom, they thought, I’d met Kenneth Fawdry, of Pollocks Toy Museum. They were right.

‘Yes, you could say, Pat influenced my whole life’ he said, sanguinary, with the considered concentration and deliberation of an academic. Pat recommended to his mother, that she give him a toy theatre as a birthday gift. She did and so began David’s life love of toy theatre. He held shows in London and I must have come to one and met Kenneth Fawdry. He wrote me letters – do i still have them? With his wooden leg, he climbed up the stairs to my studio in Holland Park, carrying a red rose. He loved his wife, who he only spoke of with admiration. No it wasn’t an affaire he was after, but a dance.

David and I spoke of the Dissenters, as I racked my brain for my Open University political study of them. For 35 years he has worked at a library specialising in the various Protestant dissenting bodies, non conformists, baptists. Etc.

Joyce, married to Peter for 59 years, was here alone, as Peter had died Boxing Day last year. I met one of Pats coffee women, the smokers.  ‘It was an important event in our days, I miss it now.’ She said.

Richard was whacked come the evening, not too tired however to take the dog for a walk, and enjoy the moment with the runner,
‘Down’ he commanded, and the dog went down.
‘Cor, I wish my dog would be that obedient, how do you do it?’
‘It’s the dog’ I say.

With Linda, we cooked chicken wrapped in wild garlic, gathered from our walk yesterday, and lemon, potatoes dauphinois, and young sprout leaves that I’d tasted that morning in their awaiting planting allotment. Retired to bed before 10, finding my nightdress wrapped in a hot water bottle. A Linda touch.

Left at sun breaking light, with banana bread as breakfast, heading down the A1, to Duxford for the Whale ceremony.

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