Herein lies the tale of my friend Buffy and her very English interment.
Buffy was what one would describe as an English eccentric. She was born in a beautiful village in the county of "Spires and Squires", smack dab in the middle of England.
Her family were and are quite formidable, landowners, business people and to a man and woman quite successful. Buffy didn't fit their particular mold and was always treated as the family disappointment, don't get me wrong, they loved her but they tut-tutted a lot. They tut-tutted at her penchant for wacky baccy, her refusal to conform, her highly original dress sense, her disastrous choices of boyfriends, her lacksadaisical attitude to earning money and the domestic chaos that always surrounded her.
If you're still reading and want to learn more please waft over the orange cloud...
Buffy was one of our original "Sunday Gang", an assorted gang of about ten of us who always got together on a Sunday for dinner. This went on for years until things dropped off as they do, people got married, had kids etc., and we all went our various ways. We still kept in touch, but on a less regular basis.
She was beautiful in every possible way, kind, funny and so laid back she was virtually horizontal.
Buffy lived in a sort of annexe at the back of the family farm and she loved animals, Oh, how she loved her animals. She earned a small living from repairing and restoring ornaments for places like Sothebys and antique dealers, which she did from home.
The fact that she did this from home was crucial, she needed to be there because of the animals.
People from everwhere learned very quickly that Buffy was a soft touch. She kept a couple of lovebirds and from far and wide people asked Buffy to take the birds they had obtained in a moment of thoughtlessness and no longer wanted.
Long story short Buffy ended up with several parrots, half a dozen cockatiels and the lovebirds turned into a flock. What with them breeding like, well lovebirds, and people giving their unwanted birds to her there were upwards of a hundred or so at the end.
She had a huge barn converted to an aviary and they were the love of her life, that is, they were the love of her life apart from her two little terriers.
The terriers adored Buffy and Buffy adored them right on back. The younger one is a darling but the older one was a snappy, yappy little monster. About one of the only people she would let near her apart from Buffy was me, I was honoured to be always given the belly to tickle. She was a rescue so I guess she had good reason to not trust people too much.
I'm going to skip over the last few months of Buffy's life, we laughed, we reminisced, we hugged and we cried. Buffy was mainly concerned about what was going to happen to her birds and dogs but she sorted it.
Well, the birds were taken by a bird sanctuary, a lovely one, in the south of England. The younger dog went to one of her cousins who had two terriers of his own on a nice farm, and as fate would have it the yappy monster had to be put down two weeks before Buffy died because old age dictated.
Fang was buried in the garden part of Buffy's annexe. Goodbye Fang (not her real name but it should have been), at least Buffy and me loved her.
Which brings me to last weeks interment...
Buffy's sister, the most formidable of all her family (think Penelope Keith in To The Manor Born), voice posher than the Queen, it could cut glass. The CEO of her own large company. Let's call her Penelope for this story, not her real name.
Well after Buffy died we told Penelope that it was a shame that Fang had been buried because Buffy had wanted to be interred with her, despite the fact that this is not allowed on Church grounds. Something to do with Churchyards being sanctified, don't get it myself, surely we're all God's creatures if there is such a deity.
So, we're at the interment and there's a bit of a huddle going on round the family vault as we go in, and a suspicious little pile of white powder inside it.
Whisper goes round to a couple of us as to what what Penelope had done. She had gone and got a spade, dug the three week old corpse up, took it to the vets to get cremated, retrieved the ashes, decided they were too "asheslike" and proceeded to use her large kitchen pestle and mortar to grind them to dust.
It's a struggle to imagine whose faces would have been more priceless to behold, the vets who were presented with a three week old dog corpse to cremate or her husband and childrens when they saw what she was using to grind the ashes.
Anyway, back to the interment...
Before the vicar started the service he took Penelope to one side and peering sternly over his glasses intoned "Is there anything I should know about Penelope"?....
He gets back from the voice that makes large men tremble "Well yes, yes there is, but you're too late, I've done it already".
The Vicar sighed, his shoulders drooped, he shuffled back to the front and carried on with the service.
This vid is of some lovebirds very like Buffys' and the music is beautiful, I have no idea what it is.
For Buffy, gone too soon.
Normally I don't do personal diaries but Buffy was a special girl, thank you if you read this far.
This was not meant as a sad story, I knew Buffy well enough to know that she would be laughing like a drain at every word.
Tue Dec 25, 2012 at 1:46 PM PT: Just came in from taking my Dad back to the hospice. We had a lovely day together.
Saw the diary must have hit the rec list briefly. I'm so grateful to you all for taking the time to read of Buffy and her Very English Interment. Thank you so much.