After my late uncle's funeral service and interment, my husband and I drove to my aunt's house. It was a journey of just a few minutes, by car, so we had hardly any chance to recover from the effects of the chill wind, which had been blowing forcefully across the churchyard. In the near distance, we glimpsed the sea sparkling in the autumn sunshine, as we turned into the cul de sac, where my aunt now lived.
There were 2 cars already parked on the drive, presumably belonging to my aunt's 2 daughters, so we parked behind them, on the road. My aunt opened the front door, leading the way into the living room, as she expressed her gratitude to us for taking the time and trouble to attend her late husband's funeral.
My aunt and uncle had moved to this small seaside town a few months ago, after a lot of persuasion from their youngest daughter, who had wanted them to live closer to her. My uncle had been 77 years old, at the the time of the move and suffered a heart attack 2 weeks before they were due to leave. Shortly after they moved, he had discovered that he was suffering from cancer and they had since bitterly regretted leaving the home, which had been theirs, ever since they had first been married.
We walked into the living room, but almost as soon as we sat on the sofa, we heard the sounds of some sort of disturbance coming from the direction of the hall. There was some scuffling, a few shrieks and the sound of a door slamming. I realised that there was some sort of altercation taking place between my late uncle's 2 daughters and the eldest daughter's 2 teenage children, a girl aged 19 and a boy aged 16. My aunt hurried out in to the hall to see what was happening.
We began to feel rather awkward, uncomfortable and embarrassed. We wondered whether we should leave, but I didn't want to abandon my aunt. We decided to wait a while, but not to interfere, unless it was absolutely necessary.
I sighed, as I considered the gigantic effort we had made to get to the funeral. My husband had arranged a day's holiday for the day of the funeral, rescheduled his doctor's appointment and asked his young female assistant to set up and take charge of his stand, at an exhibition, which was taking place in London. Last Thursday, the day before the funeral, after our evening meal, we had packed a few things and set off for a Travel Lodge in Devon. After a journey of 3 1/2 hours on a dark, windy, rainy night, we finally arrived at midnight, having lost our way on only one occasion.
The following morning, we had risen early, munched through our 'breakfast in a bag' and driven for another 1 1/2 hours to arrive at the church at 10.35 am. We were the only members of the family, who had been willing and able to cope with the length of the journey, so we had sat alone for 25 minutes, until my aunt arrived with her 2 daughters and 2 grandchildren at 11 am. We had struggled valiantly with 2 hymns, neither of which were familiar and supported the family at the graveside, as the coffin was lowered into the grave. After a short rest at my aunt's house, we had a journey of at least 5 hours to look forward to, as were driving to my parents house, in the Midlands, to spend the night. My husband had another exhibition to attend, in Birmingham, on the Saturday morning.
The shouting and swearing from the hall cut into my thoughts as it became louder and more intense. We wondered, vaguely, whether there would be any chance of getting a cup of tea, before we had to leave.............
To be continued
A good bit of gossip
13 hours ago