Tuesday 5 June
Having returned home from Moss Bros it was time to get ready for the funeral. My Auntie Doris, Auntie Da Da, as we used to call her, had been in a nursing home and due to ill health confined to her bed. Doris was Mum’s older sister by a few years. To my shame I hadn’t seen Doris for many, many years and her husband, Uncle Reg, passed away some years ago. I rember Doris as a country girl with a strong country accent, much harsher than my Mums. Its funny as you look back what you remember. For example my birthday is 28 December and I knew that at every Christmas as Doris gave me my present and wished me merry Christmas it would be accompanied with the words “…and it includes your birthday present!” What a cop out.
I remember Uncle Reg fondly, although as a small boy I wasn’t impressed with his humour. I would make tea when they came round to visit and would hold the teapot high. Reg asked “is that a long pour?” and I raise my eyes to heaven. Looking back I realise it was my ignorance and in fact he was a nice man. He was a well known amateur motorbike racer, but unfortunately had a very bad accident at work which put paid to his motorbike days. He always wore mustard coloured socks and brown shoes like a trademark. The most amusing thing we all remember is the Summer Mum started to host foreign students who would come over from Europe to study English. Mum did this for many, many years and students came from all over the world. She was probably one of the finest hosts in Bournemouth. But the very first students were two very young and very pretty Swedish girls. Both blonde of course. For some reason they didn’t go to the beach, but would strip down to their bikinis and sunbathe in the garden. As is common in most households when close family visit we just sat in the kitchen and chatted. Uncle reg would steal this opportunity to place a chair by the kitchen window and just stare at the girls. Strange behaviour my 9 year old mind thought, but as I got older I began to realise what may have been going through his mind!
Sarah and I headed for Poole Crematorium. The previous funeral ceremony was running late. I guess they weren’t running, thats why they were late! So lots of people waiting around. It was a very small affair, Very close family and friends. Some I knew well, some I knew, some I didn’t know. There were also people, in fact family, that I thought I should know better, but didn’t Some that I should have spoken to, but didn’t. It seemed Sarah knew them better than me! My Cousin Kevin, the single inheritant of the Pollard fortune, because he was an only child came over to say hello. Kim and I always called him “Cousin Kevin”. His name is Kevin and he is a cousin, so it only seemed right, but in fact it was odd because we said CousinKevin as if it was one word. Now I think about it I was CousinDavid and my sister CousinKim. I can understand CousinKim in order to distinguish between her and the “Fur Baby” of Doris and Reg, Kim the dog! A wild thing that they locked in a room all day which sent it a bit mad. I don’t know who came first the dog or Kim. Either way it was either insensitive of Doris or absent minded of Mum and Dad.
As numbers were low Kevin asked if I would be a pallbearer and help carry the coffin. I reluctantly nodded. I was stood next to Ged, my sisters husband who also wasn’t keen, but as we gathered near the hearse and the funeral director started organising things I stepped back and stood behind Ged who was then in the spotlight for the job!
The eulogy briefly summarised the life of Aunty Doris, her long standing loyalty to her work, the fun Reg and her had Caravanning and the friends that they made. A picture was built of a woman that I realised I didn’t know. But we were reminded how Doris and my Mum ended up in Bournemouth in the first place. My grandfather who I called Poppy, had a dream of emigrating to Brisbane in Australia. The family had packed up and moved from Braintree in Middlesex with the idea of stopping off in Bournemouth before sailing to the other side of the world. But Poppy loved Bournemouth so much they stayed. Its funny how all those years later I fulfilled a little bit of destiny when Sarah and I ended up living in Brisbane.
The Wake was a sort of village hall “Do” …sandwiches and cake with a few pies. Tea, coffee or some sort of cordial to wash it down. Doris had a favourite drink … Baileys, so we Toasted with that and CousinKevin said a few words. Then it was all over.
Wednesday 6 June
I return to Moss Bros in Bournemouth and park right outside the shop in Westover Road. At one time Westover Road was the premier road in Bournemouth. Where all the top shops were located. It was like little Bond Street. There were 3 cimemas, the Palace Court Hotel Casino, the Ice-rink … as well as the Tufty Club. All gone now. A recent casualty, the Odeon cinema is now boarded up. Other shops have closed and the infamous Russell and Bromley will be closing their doors soon. It feels empty. Souless. Men linger intimately in groups. Smoking. Chatting. Looking. Along the road there is the occasional person sleeping in vacant shop doorways. The entirety of their worldly belongings with them. One with a cup held out to passers-by. It is an oxymoron as a smartly dressed bodyguard stands proudly outside one of the jewellers. It is a testiment to the world we now live in and a showcase to opulence and poverty. Like oil and water they don’t mix. This is not the Bournemouth I knew as a boy. It is not the Bournemouth I want to remember.
I didn’t have enough coins for the parking meter, but on studying the instructions I can pay by phone if I download the “PaybyPhone”App. For fun I do that and it works brilliantly. The app locates where I am. I can even upload a photo to prove where I am and with a click my parking is paid for. Another useful app that allows you to spend money too quickly!
Every morning and evening I do my walk. I picked up the route that I worked out last year. I play a game and when in the shadows I jog. On Thursday evening my ankle felt stiff. I was power walking. By Friday morning it was stiff and painful. Very painful. So much so that on Saturday Nurse Sarah purchased an ankle strap to bandage around the swelling. I had lunch with Mum and Kim at the Boathouse in Christchurch. Me hobbling, Mum in her wheelchair.
It wasn’t looking good.
Until next time🌏