I spent the weekend back in Worcester for a sad occasion: the funeral of my Uncle Viv. A funeral can be a maudalin experience, but this wasn’t. It was a great opportunity to reflect on my Uncles life. I remember him in his house describing events from his life. Most of these involved his work — he was a train driver — and a lot of them involved incredible feats of alcholic excess. Often at the same time. But he was a much more than this; in his time he was heavily involved in the trade union movement, making the life of other workers better and, crucially, safer. It didn’t take long in his presence to appreciate his humour and the ease of his personality; it’s perhaps only now, after his death, that I’ve realised how much his compassion defined his life.

One of this other major characteristics was his ability to talk the hind legs of a donkey; this is something that most of my father’s family — including myself — share. An opportunity to see and talk with them is always good; the stand out moment was my aunt telling the most tasteless gag that I am ever likely to hear at a funeral. Excellent!

Originally published on my old blog site.