Friday, 18 September 2009

Friday 18th September 09

The day of Austin's Funeral, but not until the afternoon so had a slow morning doing various things around the house and chatting to Gill. Did some paperwork too.

Had a bit of a late lunch and got finished at about 2pm, shortly before I was due to go to the Cemetery.

I love York Cemetery... which is good as I'm going to end up there, in the Butterfly Walk section in the Victorian part of the Cemetery. I've been to some amazing events in the Chapel, including lots of Juggling Club evenings, many years ago, and probably the best funeral ever, Tom Mason, just a few years ago.

Anyway, I got there and was greeted by Robin who was teaching at Archbishop Holgates at the same time as Austin was a lab technician there. There were loads of people, quite a multicultural bunch for York, this because Austin, a metalworker from Sheffield with a liking for samosas, married Azra, a Muslim girl, against the wishes of her family who then had nothing to do with her again. Austin volunteered for YUMI and quite a few of the other YUMI people were there.

Austin loved the 60s band The Shadows, and there's a band which does Shadows covers which he really liked, and three of them were there to play a selection of tunes on guitars. (possibly the MoJoes)

Austin and Az's son Oliver hosted the ceremony. Sasiki spoke about Austin's involvement with YUMI and Dev read out a poem which Azra read to Austin just a few weeks ago. There was also a story from a teacher which demonstrated Austin's sense of humour, and a few words from Az, but she was really too emotional to say that much. Then the coffin was carried a short way to the grave, a few more words were said, and it was lowered in.

I waited to thank Az for a moving ceremony and then cycled home, and spent nearly an hour before going to the Viceroy, which was Austin's favourite restaurant, where I was pleased to meet Paul, an old friend, and his wife, and have a chat with Sasiki and a few others. Just before I went in, I had a good chat with my good friend Jonathan, who was walking towards his house.

Then home again, via the cycle path where I picked up 4 chunks of willow log. Good to see the family, who were enjoying a Friday night.

At about 8pm I cycled over to Vyner St to go to Jennie's 27th birthday party, and was pleased to meet Edward and JayZee, Guy, and later, several other friends. I did a bit of a balloon model workshop, which was fun, and then after 11 we all went to see Jennie and her friend do some fire poi in a nearby field. Jennie managed to lose one of her poi in the long grass, so there was only one pair being used.

I watched for a bit and then cycled home along the cycle path, picking up 2 chunks of willow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Indeed a very moving ceremony yesterday, John. When Austin's coffin was brought in to the tune of The Shadows "Telstar", it immediately made me think of him riding into the school car park on his fake Harley!

Some very moving words from some that knew him but the best offering, the one that described his sense of humour beautifully, was the one about the exploding defrosted rodent! Cracking!! (Why was that the first time I had heard that story when I was working in that establishment at the time??!!).

Got a bit emotional towards the end, not so much because of the passing away of a friend and former colleague, but because of the obvious grief it had caused Azra, his widow. Despite the age difference (20+ years), they were evidently a very cohesive couple.

I was very impressed by how his son, only in his early 20's, led the ceremony in a very mature and upbeat fashion.

Rather reminds us of our own mortality doesn't it? - particularly when I hear that Austin had his earlier heart attack at the age of only 39, some 27 years ago!

Get the beers-in, Oz! I'll be up later!!