Friday, July 04, 2008

A day for getting plastered

An early start today for our plasterers. They were here at 7.45 and aimed to be finished by 2pm. A much faster job than I'd anticipated, and a welcome surprise because this was not only a day for getting the new lounge plastered, in another sense it was a day for getting ourselves plastered. It was the day of Pete's funeral.

I collected Nikki from work at quarter past eleven, giving us time to return home, change into funeral gear, and step across the road to wait outside the house with the slowly gathering family, friends and neighbours. By the time the hearse arrived about half an hour later, I counted over a hundred people in the crowd. Pete's coffin was piped out of the house and carried behind the hearse down the road, with us all walking solemnly behind.

As we rounded the corner and the church came into view, I was amazed to see at least another hundred people waiting outside, but my astonishment hit new levels when, after a few moments delay, we entered the church to find ANOTHER hundred people had already taken their seats. A man who made his mark on many, many lives, Pete was given the kind of send-off most of us can only dream about.

The service was as nice as it was possible to be, given the sombre nature of the occasion. The priest did a very good job of explaining what was happening for those of us in the congregation not familiar with Catholic ritual, and also for the younger people there, so they weren't confused by the strange symbolism and incantations. My own views on this kind of event can wait for a more appropriate time to be expressed, because this was a day for Pete's friends and family, and in the end, who am I to question another person's beliefs? If the ritual brings them any comfort, then that can only be a good thing.

All told we were in the church for something approaching 90 minutes, which gave us time between the service and the wake, when the family and closest friends headed off to the cemetery to inter the coffin, to pop back home and see how the plastering was coming along.

With accuracy born of long experience, the men were virtually spot on with their estimate, and by the time we arrived home at about 1.45pm they had almost finished tidying up, and the room looked like this. Even in this state, it is so much more relaxing to walk into. To not have the glaring, angry, untidy look of the original paint, and to have the old, wobbly, dowel corners replaced with crisp modern angles just makes me feel calm.

Nikki fetched the colour chart and surprisingly the wet plaster was an almost perfect match to the chocolate colour we've chosen as the main colour for the walls. That copper colour on the picture rails will go - they'll be white - but apart from that, the photo above should be a pretty close approximation to the finished look.

We waited a few minutes for the plasterers to collect the last of their gear before locking up and walking back to the pub where the wake was being held. Almost all of the 300 throng appeared to have stayed behind to raise a glass in memory of Pete. I was only sorry I could only stay for one, but I left Nikki to represent our household and our "branch" of the neighbours' fraternity, while I headed off to pick up my lovely daughters for their weekend visit.

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