I attended my friend John’s funeral last week. John was a great nature lover never happier than on a walk with his trusty camera snapping birds etc. His funeral was held in this beautiful wood location in glorious summer sunshine. The service was held in this glorious wooden building and we all sat looking out past his coffin through a wall of glass at the trees and nature all around. At the end of the service he was carried through a glass door in that wall. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful, serene and apt setting for our farewell to John. I was ok up until the very end when his son paid tribute to AA and what it had meant to John.
My sister is moving house this coming weekend. Now there two kids are both grown adults they are leaving the large family home that they’ve had for nearly 30 years. They are moving to smaller house which is conveniently just around the corner from us. That’ll be nice. However she has been digging out all the clutter and posting loads of photos she was finding on Facebook. Mostly of her kids with embarrassing shoes, haircuts, clothes etc. much fun. My daughter was of course joining in the banter with her red-faced cousins until my sister posted one of her old school photos from primary school! Hahaha!
However my sister also dug out a photo of her when about 10 presenting a bouquet to a Canadian dignitary’s wife at a launch of one of the Canadian O Class submarines built in Chatham dockyard in the 1960s. Our Dad was I think known as “chief liner” – which was essentially the chief shipwright on the build who from the moment the keel was laid down in the dock was in charge of making sure it all stayed straight and true … otherwise it’ll have gone round in circles! Literally like car with it’s tracking out – he had to repair a Brazilian one once that could be driven straight I believe. I would have been not quiet 4 when that photo was taken but I do have a vague memory of it. The huge crowd, the enormous hull towering over us and the sheer noise, power and amazement as this huge craft slipped down the slipway into the river for the first time with my Dad on the bow making sure all his work didn’t end up at the bottom of the Medway!
Now the dockyard is all a museum, university campus, office space for service industries and a large shopping centre, theme park (well a small one based on the local hero Dickens), cinema, restaurants etc. It used to employ thousand and thousands of men doing a “proper day’s work” as my Dad would have said.