I went to Dave's funeral today. I knew him for over thirty years. For many of those years he was a regular at my local pub.All his working life was spent with Sheffield Council's Parks and Gardens Department. He even lived in the Victorian park keeper's house by the entrance to one of Sheffield's most popular parks. That is where he and his wife raised their three children.
Dave spent all of his working life outdoors and he was not religious in any way so it was fitting that the funeral farewells were said at Apperknowle Natural Burial Ground just beyond the southern limits of this great northern city.
It was a beautiful winter's morning with yet more blue sky and sunshine, the air as still as a painting. The view from Apperknowle over the hills of Derbyshire was so spectacular that I wished I had brought my camera along but of course taking photos at funerals is generally frowned upon.
There were around a hundred and fifty people there to say goodbye. His mortal remains lay in a beautiful basket coffin with an equally beautiful arrangement of flowers on top. One of his sisters delivered a simple eulogy with calm dignity and sororal love.
And all of this was out in the open air before his body was taken to its final resting place - a grave that had been dug in the top corner of the burial ground where an orchard is gradually forming around and from the dead.
Along with "Largo" from Dvorak's New World Sympathy, there were three songs . "Annie's Song" by John Denver, "The Circle of Life" by Elton John and one I did not know - "Something to Someone" by Dermot Kennedy. Have you ever thought about which music or song you would like at your funeral?
Farewell Dave. It was good to have known you my friend.