Friday, April 13, 2007

Births, marriages, deaths

Met the Dr in the spangly Young Vic bar Wednesday night, where we shared some giraffes of wine. She also bought me a leatherless present, London: City of Words.

Have already learnt that Caxton’s first English printing press was inherited by the splendidly named Wynken de Worde. In about 1500, de Worde moved it from Westminster to Fleet Street, which remained the heart of English pressing for just shy of 500 years. Good fact!

We then ambled onwards to Tas for some Turkish comestibles. It was packed, but the service was exemplary and we had some very good food. Also got through quite a lot of fizz.

Yesterday was somewhat different, and we grabbed a lift from my cousin in Richmond down to my grandfather’s funeral. He was 93 and had been declining some time, but his death (on 31 March) was still a bit of a shock. Lots of family I’d not seen in years, and some wonderful stories too. Most of them entirely unrepeatable.

I’d been tasked last week with ringing round the cousins to gather stories to use in the eulogy. Most featured boozing and swearing. One family friend referred to the latter as “bicycling”, after “Jesus Christ on a bicycle!”

The elder brother – who delivered the short version of all this – had also worked through Grandpa’s own incredible memoir. He remembered Conan-Doyle as “tubby”, went tiger-hunting aged seven, and married my Granny having seen her only six times in daylight. The wedding guests had to take cover in the street from an attacking Meschersmitt.

But for the man who’d been born in Shanghai and lived his life all over the world, the last goodbye was in Basingstoke. We filed out to the thumping Radetzky March, and on to a pub flying the Union boldly.

Then back to the Smoke, and we took our chauffeur out for drinks and pizza in Richmond. More revelries and revelations, and some cheesecake for pudding.

With exquisite timing, my friends P. and A. produced a baby the same day that Grandpa died. Very glad to hear all is well with them. Found myself humming while on the way into work not Radetzky but that one from the Lion King.

1 comment:

Le Mc said...

That March is a good one to go out on.