24 January 2011


He was twenty minutes late. When I greeted him at the door there was no apology. I sort of had to wring it out of him. We had postponed our evening meal deliberately. His half-hearted apology was accompanied by a suggestion that we wouldn't have had time for dinner anyway. I insisted that we would have had our meal if we had known he was going to be so late. Not the most auspicious of first meetings I have to admit.

Who was he? A legal geezer. Not a lawyer but a representative of a company that specialises in writing wills and managing the estates of the dead. Although a modern man with a fancy computerised pen that sent our documentation back to head office in the blink of an eye, there was something very Dickensian about him. Meticulous and neat, he had clearly been immersed in legalistic language for many years. He spoke as if from a manual and seemed irritated by what to him must have seemed like dumb questions from lesser mortals. He probably deserved a good slapping with a wet kipper.

It was a day that once I thought would never come. The day I made my first will and testament. Mr Con D. Ecension filleted our "estate", putting numbers in boxes and then adding them up. If you die. If Shirley dies first. If the children pre-decease you. Inheritance tax. Property. Investment. Bank. Funerals. Horrible words all colliding together. But you've got to be sensible. This is something that grown up people do. They make wills and somehow life is no longer all about living, it's about dying too. No wonder I had put it off for so long.

Mr Ecension left just before nine after buttoning up his gaberdine raincoat and ensuring that everything was in order in his leather briefcase. At the door I shook his hand - like you do - and wondered if he would refer back to his late arrival - but of course he didn't.

As soon as he had left, I got back to the kitchen to finish off the spaghetti, having earlier made the bolognaise sauce and as I stirred I thought of the solicitor, Mr Kenge, in "Bleak House":-

He appeared to enjoy beyond everything the sound of his own voice. I couldn’t wonder at that, for it was mellow and full and gave great importance to every word he uttered. He listened to himself with obvious satisfaction...


  1. We have legalzoom.com and judgemathis.com and similar online sites here where one can, for $69 American or so, produce a own will without benefit of sleazy (not to mention late) door-to-door legal beagle, and it will stand up in court.

  2. Good heavens, your first will you say? We made ours as soon as we had children in case anything happened to us and left them orphans. That was about 35 years ago but we covered all eventualities then so the old one stands.
    A good, necessary job taken care of. Don't need to think about it again.

  3. I'm amazed that a legal representative of any sort actually came to your place -- in the evening -- to discuss your will. Usually, all one gets here is a "Your appointment, in our offices, is at __ a.m. Bring your a,b,c,d,e,f,& g papers."

    Your description of this event was wonderful.

  4. A sound & sensible thing to do Mr. Pudding. Was there provision for fellow bloggers ? or is that an inappropriate question ?

  5. Making a will is something I've put off for many years. I guess it's the suspicion that I'd be tempting fate.

    The Gerry Robinson series on telly about couples making their wills has been a bit of an eye-opener. The arguments that go on between them about who gets what.

    That reminds me, I must tell Mrs P of my plans to leave my share of the house to the Parrots Defence League.

  6. RHYMES I would have done ours on line too but Madam Pudding has suspicions about these things. Some of the biggest villains in society reside in the greedy legal profession.
    HELEN Clearly you are more sensible than me but then again, Yorkshire is not likely to turn into an inland ocean complete with tsunmais and mud armies!
    PAT ARK The company concerned get ahead of the opposition by offering this service. Thank you for noticing my description - I did try hard to capture the episode authentically.
    DAVID You will be pleased to know that you are included in my will. I have specifically left you some old Hull City programmes and a toilet brush we don't use any more.
    SHOOTER OF PARROTS Given your last post, I think it is time to make your will RIGHT NOW! (Tee-hee - only kidding!)

  7. we did our wills when we bought the cottage
    the solicitor was rather jolly
    she had never "done" a gay couple before!!!!!

  8. JOHN "done" can have different meanings. I hope she meant draw up the will!

  9. What a delightfully descriptive post. Yes, a will is a good thing to have...gives those left behind direction. Nothing worse than a bunch of squabbling relatives. Had to lol at your comment to David. You're very funny.


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