I have a shocking headache today, mainly because I enjoyed too much apré-ski in the pub last night. Don't worry, I am not touting for sympathy. I just have to get this post finished before the sun comes round and blinds me, forcing me to wear a hat as I write at the computer.
The sight of me hatted at the keyboard makes H.I. laugh. At any other time she says I remind her of a 1950s escaped-slave-hunter from the Deep South, and this does not make her laugh. It was even worse when I went shooting and bid her goodbye with my hat on and a shotgun slung over my shoulder.
Today she is going up to Sheffield with Daughter for her sister's funeral. She was brought up there in a tiny house without a bathroom which had an outside lavatory. Her sister remained, but H.I. ran down to Soho, London, as soon as she was old enough.
Once there, her airs and graces were taken for granted by the Londoners, and she arrived at a time when a young woman with a Northern accent had become fashionable. Back home in Sheffield she was 'The Queen of Sheba' as she had been since she could talk.
The last time I went to Sheffield was for her mother's funeral. We were ushered into the funeral parlour and, without prior warning, lead into a small, dimly-lit, air-conditioned room where her mother was lying in state with the lid off the coffin.
Her sister leaned over the coffin for a closer, final look at her mother and said, "Eee. It's like she has just fallen asleep." Their mother's hair had been neatly brushed and liberal amounts of make-up applied - in life she did not wear make-up.
The unexpected sight made H.I. burst into tears and she asked me to excort her out of the room. Once out, I tried to console her by saying that this was not her mother, it was just the shell of her.
She said, "I know, but she spent a long time in that shell."
Edwina spent 86 years in hers, which is quite a long time too.
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