Avatar A terrible goodbye

I don’t check the undertaker’s window very often, which means I don’t really keep myself abreast of all the latest undertaking fashions. That’s on me. It’s my problem and I’m doing what I can to address it.

Recently I paused at the window of an undertaker in Petersfield – a wealthy market town in the Hampshire countryside, so not exactly the haunt of the trashy or the tasteless. I expected that what I’d see through the window would all be sombre and reverent. But no: undertaking fashions have moved on, and I have been left behind. It turns out that even in the deeply traditional home counties countryside, picture coffins are now a thing. They had a window full of them.

Cardboard picture coffins.

They’ve got one for everyone. Maybe when you go, you’d like the congregation to see how proud you are of your country, so you could go draped in a sort of badly stretched flag box.

Perhaps food is your passion and you’d like to be lowered into the earth in a box of lemons, or cherries, or assorted Love Hearts.

You might wish to outdo the floral displays and bouquets brought by mourners by turning yourself into a dazzling display of flowers. Or maybe you’d like a written message hinting at what you want people to say to you as you lie in state.

Perhaps you want your life’s passion to be reflected in your coffin. You could have one covered in love birds, or crossword puzzles, or you could have it dressed as Rupert the Bear.

Actually, I know what you’d want. You’d have the same as me. Something that reflects the years of effort you’ve poured into this glorious joint endeavour and the friendship it represents. You’d want to be buried in a giant tin of beans.

10 comments on “A terrible goodbye

  • Are you saying there’s something fatal about a visit to Petersfield? Maybe I was lucky to get away with my life. Bloody hell. What’s killing people in this bustling Hampshire market town?

  • It also says the surgeon William Cowper was born there, and he gave his name to Cowper’s Gland. I bet that’s what they’re all dying of. Miranda Hart is poisoning people’s Cowper’s Gland.

  • There was a place in Wallsend that always had a casket decorated in black and white for the thoroughly committed even-through-death-and-into-the-next-life Newcastle United fan. When I go I wanted to be buried in a giant Subway sandwich wrapper.

  • That would be deeply inappropriate.

    I don’t mind what coffin I’m buried in, but I’d like to be buried under the middle lane of the M62.

  • They won’t be happy when we have to re-direct the traffic around me and Kev trying to pummel the ground to get it loose enough to throw your inanimate corpse but if that is your wish leave it to us, we’ve got this. Any particular junction you had in mind?

  • I think somewhere between junctions 22 and 23, maybe under the magnificent arch of Scammonden Bridge. Eastbound carriageway, naturally.

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