I didn’t post anything yesterday because I was at a wake, that peculiarly Irish tradition where a person is laid out in his own home the night before his funeral.
Once you’ve spent part of your evening sitting in the same room as a deceased person in an open coffin then any jokes you were planning to write seem a lot less funny.
He was Mrs Tin’s uncle and yet he wasn’t – he and his wife were close friends with her parents, and back when we were young such people were commonly referred to as Uncle This and Auntie That (there is a couple, now living in Canada, and if I met them tomorrow I would call then Uncle Bill and Auntie Julie, though their relationship to us consists entirely of the fact that for three years in the 1960s they lived in the flat above us in Tottenham).
Nowadays, of course, my real nieces and nephews, from the eldest (32) to the youngest (7) call me simply by my first name.
Uncle Don was a sweet man who never really got over the death of his wife Doris, a real fireball of chatting, laughing energy, just three years ago.
He leaves one daughter, Gillian, a girl who I first met when she was 24 and who is now 50 and has suddenly risen to be head of the family.
I couldn’t go to the funeral today because I’m back to work but I hope it all went well for her and her three children, who all had to give readings.
I was thinking about them this morning, and will be thinking about them in the days ahead.