Safely tucked up in Cropredy Marina, albeit still feeling rather discombobulated after our fun and games over the weekend, we cracked on with the plan, a day late. Tuesday morning dawned bright and sunny for once, and at crack of sparrows we bade adieu to the Captain, jumped in the car and headed off down the M40 to Ruislip Crematorium.
With a mother the youngest of six, and hence countless elderly Aunts, Uncles and Cousins in the area, the FO of the Song & Dance crew had been here far too many times but thought those days were passed. However, our friend Mark who lived near Heathrow had died in March. Pretty much estranged from his family, and always an intensely private chap, we and some other friends had spent considerable time and effort sorting things out before finally managing to track down his mother and brothers, who gladly took over arrangements, to our relief.
As is invariably the case at such funerals, there’s the sadness in the passing of a friend of many decades standing, coupled with the happiness of meeting up again with old friends that one hasn’t seen in years (or even decades). Reunited, albeit belatedly, with his family, he was given a good send off.
Heading back up the M40, we were soon back at the boat, and after another day doing loads of laundry, raiding the large Banbury Tesco superstore, doing boatwork, and generally preparing things for the off, we were ready to start out on our 2017 cruise proper. Somewhat glad – in the circumstances – that we had arranged to go via Stoke-on-Trent and Piper Boats, who could look at the issues involved in restoring Song & Dance to a more suitable carriage for the Captain, we girded our loins for insurance company fun and games.
(Photo credits: Carly Gunn)