Monday, 1 April 2013

Al fresco cremation for Downton's Matthew

Reader of the Good Funeral Guide blog will have perhaps noted that I'm honoured to have been chosen as celebrant for the funeral of poor Matthew Crawley, late of Downton Abbey. Click your cursor on the title above and you will be taken straight there. (Er, I mean to the GFG of course, not to Downton Abbey.)

If you are wondering why people are going to all the trouble of refurbishing this old alfresco cremator for his funeral, 

you might want to consider these regulations, seen recently:

"Please note the updated regulations and guidance for all persons utilizing this crematorium, as from 1 April 2013:

1.  No lighting of candles please – they are a fire hazard in a fire-sensitive environment.
2.  We are well aware that there are only two toilets in the crematorium; we are seeking to address this issue, but in the meantime, please advise all mourners to make sure they use other facilities before coming here.
3.  We understand that some celebrants have been puzzled by our stereo system; if you do not book the organist, then the funeral director or the celebrant will have to operate the equipment, which is easily accessible at the rear of the chapel.
5.  There have been complaints that the cross is difficult or impossible to remove, for the funerals of atheists. We live in a multi-faith society, but this is, after all, a chapel. Please book the removal of the cross in plenty of time before the ceremony.
6.  We are not equipped for slide shows; if you want one, you must make all arrangements yourself, and supply all necessary equipment.
7.   Please do not over-run your allocated time allowance. Thirty minutes should be sufficient for nearly all funerals, and we do not want a queue of families waiting outside in the rain.
8.  Please check with us before presenting a cardboard or sea-grass-type coffin; some of these "green" coffins simply burn too well.
9.    Please do all you can to preserve a dignified atmosphere; the following unsuitable funeral elements have come to our attention:
a.   Clapping and cheering
b.   Swearing, even in a song; for example, there is an unsuitable word in the middle of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life;” please be on your guard.
c.   Loud conversations by departing mourners
d.   Smoking in the outside areas around the crematorium
e.   The toasting of the deceased with alcoholic beverages, in a party mode."

(Well I ask you. No wonder the Downton Toffs would rather say goodbye to Matthew in the open air. Lady Mary says she is going to the Towers of Silence when her turn comes....)

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