Thanks for the good advice and encouragement for the "traditional" funeral. It happened yesterday, - a blend of illegality, using material from the 1928 Prayer book, and readings from the Authorised Version plus a hefty chunk of Francis Thompson's The Hound of Heaven. By the end, I was heartily sick of the sound of my own voice, and really wished that the family had felt able to provide at least one reader to give a little variety....However, I'm kind of relieved that no-one else was reading from my script, which included the notable typo
"grant us grace so to follow the example of thy blessed Saints in all virtuous and dogly living, that we may come to those unspeakable joys..."
They nearly were unspeakable, as I struggled briefly with hysteria,- to emerge victorious.
Apart from that, the whole service went smoothly and the family felt that their mother's wishes had been honoured, while I felt that I'd preached the Resurrection rather than eternal gloom, so all is well.
In other news, my washing machine has moved on from eating mere socks to a whole surplice. I can think of no other explanation. Here's the story. On Easter Sunday night when I staggered home from church, I brought with me cassock-alb, cassock and surplice, reckoning they deserved a wash after recent frenetic activity. I put them in the washing pile, and went blithely off on holiday, returning to find cassock and cassock alb waiting for me in the study (HG is a top daughter, you know). It wasn't till I looked in the EU ironing mountain for the surplice for yesterday's service that I realised I might be in trouble. An extensive search of the house, in both likely and unlikely quarters, has yielded no fruit, though HG thinks she remembers hanging it in the airing cupboard to dry. Now, though, it is vanished as if it had never been. A Bermuda triangle for vestments? or just a domestic appliance getting above itself? Anxious curate wants to know.