4 June 2008


How fickle is our English weather. On Tuesday, the rain came down like stair-rods but today our skies were blue and hot sunshine melted the tarmacadam. It was on this day that we said goodbye to Shirley's mum, Winnie. Born in December 1929, she died eleven days ago. I was asked to pen some words about her for the vicar to mull over but at Woodlands Crematorium in Scunthorpe, I heard many of these words being read out verbatim:-

"No one ever called her Winifred, she was always known as Winnie or Win. She was a country woman through and through. She lived her entire life close to where she was born, mainly as a farmer’s wife, supporting her husband Charlie through the good times and the bad. She knew the rhythms of the land and the seasons as only country people can...

...Like most lives that are lived, hers was perhaps unspectacular but it was also a very decent life in which each day she lived and breathed the two things that really mattered to her – her family and her friends. She didn’t smoke or drink but sought to live healthily with dignity and self-respect, raising a family by the river bank as beyond it the Trent flowed on towards the Humber and the sea."

There were perhaps a hundred and fifty at the funeral. Afterwards, we all moved on to The Berkeley Hotel for a buffet and drinks. Then Shirley, Frances and I took the funeral flowers to St Martin's churchyard in Owston Ferry (see picture) where we laid them on the simple grave where her parents rest along with two of Winnie's siblings. These small children sadly died of diptheria in the nineteen thirties. Then it was back to Sheffield, our thoughts filled with the resonances of another completed chapter... Farewell Winnie. Sleep well...


  1. Kind thoughts your way from New Zealand... And hugs.

  2. A sad time, but it sounds as if you all gave her a good send off.

  3. Wishing you both the strength and comfort you need at this time. She sounds like a lovely lady.

  4. Thanks also to Jenny and Goddess.

  5. I just read those words listening to "Bound for Canaan" by Ry Cooder. Synchronicity.

    Beautiful words again.

    She was loved and that shows.

  6. Your words are extremely moving.

    It's a pity really that the papers do not report these type of lives more often as they are, in their way, as spectacular as those of so-called celebrities.

    What a splendid woman! May she rest in peace.

  7. It sounds like a really good funeral - and that's important I think.


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