Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Sunday, 13 April 2014
In death, as in life
I had (another) strange dream the night before last.
In it, a largish, black kitten was sitting on my lap, purring, when I decided it was time for dinner. So I ate it.
I don't remember how I killed it and ate it, but it was a very clean sort of process which left left no mess at all, and I must have eaten all of it because there was no fur or feet and claws left behind, nor any blood-stains on my trousers, which I had been using as a TV dinner table. It was a bit like a box of Kentucky fried chicken, but without the grease - not that I have ever eaten a KFC.
After the meal, I felt the need for company, so I reached down and picked up another, identical black kitten and put it on my lap.
Sensing what had just happened to it's brother, it struggled and squirmed to get away from me but I held it down firmly on my knees as it tried to claw me and get away to safety. I was not going to let it go.
After a very short period of time, it seemed to forget the possible danger, and it settled down and began to purr as I slowly released my grip and stroked it.
As it lay there in comfortable contentment, I began to start thinking about our curious relationship with animals - one minute like-companions and the next a food-source. I seriously contemplated becoming a vegetarian, but then I woke up.
Last night, I had another one of my recurring dreams where I am lost in a foreign city, trying to find my way back to a hotel. Usually, H.I. is at the hotel waiting for me, but in this one she was with me, also trying to find our way back.
Two old friends - a husband and wife - were also with us. These two friends both died a few years ago of cancer within about a year of each other, but they still visit me - or I them - in dreams.
The husband - in life - just loved dressing-up in outlandish costumes, so it was not unusual that in this dream he had acquired the costume of a bishop for me, so I could attend a funeral with them somewhere else in the city as some sort of joke.
Now I am awake, I know that this was a Pope's costume and not a bishop's, and in the dream I had left the white skull-cap and cape back in the hotel, having tried on the rest of it to show them how I looked. I thought I made a good Pope, and so did they, but I had to get the rest of the outfit from the hotel quickly as the hour of the funeral was fast approaching.
At the husband's real funeral (he and I had attended the wife's with everyone else - including the two children) he had played one last dressing-up joke as he lay there in his coffin.
At Haycombe cemetery chapel where he was cremated, right alongside the area where the coffins are placed for the service, there is a large, grilled vent in the floor through which a powerful but silent fan blows an up-draught of air between the congregation and the deceased, for reasons we will not go into.
The vicar - who I came to be on first-name terms with - approached the coffin and begun the service. He was dressed in a huge, white cotton vestment of the sort that choir-boys always wear.
He began by saying that it was Jay's last wish for him to conduct the service whilst standing directly over the air-vent, and then he moved into that position.
Immediately, the white vestment inflated into a huge balloon-shaped, spherical night-shirt, as wide as he was tall, and it stayed like that for the rest of the service.
I have never attended a funeral where the whole of the congregation has been helpless with laughter as the vicar intones sombre observations about life and death before, and for that little touch of genuine consideration for the feelings of others, I am truly grateful to Jay.
Here is the Google Street photo of the vicar eyeing up the girlies, just for Rachel: