A Memorial Service was held on Friday 28 May for Maalie – apparently near his home town of Askam-in-Furness. The mourners then apparently adjourned to his house in Steel street.
I am having difficulty coming to grips with that. Did they look at it first? I hope there was a policeman at the door to issue tickets to let them in four at a time. I hope I have it wrong and they instead adjourned instead to the Black Dog.
The ceremony was at 12:15 UK time so I met Merisi in Stadtpark about an hour before and we wandered up to St Stephens’ Cathedral.
Merisi bought two white roses and while we waited we had some coffee in the café opposite the cathedral. It had been a gorgeous morning but the storms were coming.
At the appointed time we went into the Cathedral and Merisi prevailed upon a young man who was fiddling about with audio equipment near the main altar to sneak our roses into the displays which were probably there for the Sunday Mass. He did this very deftly and there they were –splendidly on display – and I daresay that Jim’s soul will be well and truly prayed for on Sunday.
Then the organ started playing so Merisi and I sat for 20 minutes while this fabulous sound crashed around that magnificent temple – which I thought they had decked out nicely for Maalie – but it turned out it was for the Long Night of the Churches which took place that very night.
We then lit some candles and I lit one for Simon who could not be there and was so special to Jim – and to whom Jim was so special.
And then we had a fine long lunch at Café Central and wandered back around the city and back through Stadtpark. The storm had swept through the park while we had lunch and the air was damp and fresh. The grass was covered with leaves cut down by the heavy rain and the more delicate flowers had been flattened.
The Ducks were none the worse for wear and the Duck-Meister was in his usual spot looking after his charges. He is there in summer picking excess leaves and rubbish out of the water and he is there in winter breaking the thin ice near the edges so that the Ducks are never to vulnerable and also have some open water. We have desultory conversations. He does not like to speak about the ducks. He likes to be with them.
And so do I.
Naturally I took some special duck photos for Maalie. And one of this cool cat!