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.