The Auntie Doris Years:1992

image We had my Raymond cremated that June. We had a nice do afterwards in the back room of the Rose and Crown. Unfortunately Knaggs the Butcher wasn’t there to provide the tongue, but I got some from the lad at the local Kwik Save. It might not have been top quality, but it did the job. The family all turned up, and were very nice to me, and we swapped some funny stories about Raymond and the times we had with him. For all his faults, he never did anyone any harm, didn’t Raymond probably not even during the war, when he was supposed to do some harm to the ruddy Germans. That’s how I best remember him, as my little soldier man, dancing with me in the Church Hall as John Gemmill’s band played something that sounded a bit like the music of Glenn Miller.
They let me have his ashes after a few days. I went and got them, but I didn’t have a ruddy clue what to do with them. I kept them on the mantelpiece for a week or so. I even tried talking to them, but it didn’t seem natural to me. I’m not saying that they were worse conversationalists than my Raymond, to be honest, they were pretty much the same. But it still didn’t feel like I was talking to him.
April May came up with the idea that we should take them to Withernsea and sprinkle them around the pleasure gardens. So one morning, her and Cyril and me went up on the service bus one Sunday. I had the urn containing the ashes in a pink carrier bag that said “Fanny” on it. My nephew Michael had given me it. His girlfriend had found it in their gas cupboard. He said it was from a fashion boutique or something. I thought it was a good bag to carry my Raymond’s mortal remains to their final destination in. He would have seen the joke. And in a funny sort of way, it was discreet. No one would have ever suspected what was in that bag.
Any road, when we got to the Pleasure Gardens, they were full of kiddies and young families playing, and it didn’t feel right to be chucking human ashes all over the place. So we had to think again. We thought about throwing them in the sea, but that had kiddies paddling in it an all. In the end, we went for fish and chips on the front, and I emptied him into a litter bin whilst April May and Cyril were queuing up. They were a bit cross with me when they came out with the dinners and found out what I had done, but they soon calmed down. Like I said, it was only ashes. I kept the urn, even though it was only ruddy plastic, and the fanny bag.
As we ate our chips, a little kiddie chucked an ice lolly into the bin on top of Raymond. That attracted some wasps, and we watched them buzz around him. Every so often a gust of wind would send some dust up from the ashes. Some of it would have probably found its way to the pleasure gardens.
After the fish and chips we all went for a game of bingo.
None of us won anything.
Auntie Doris’s Top Pop hit of 1992: “Tom Traubert’s Blues” by Rod Stewart. I never really liked Rod Stewart, but this was a nice melancholy song about a soldier. It fitted my mood.

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