Saturday, May 28, 2011

Ducks for Maalie

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! 


  1. Thanks for the notes about the service and the photos.

  2. A lovely send-off. And Merisi is clearly a charmer. Glad that your roses continue there.

  3. Just beautiful. Stephansdom is glorious and it's so pleasing to know your roses are there.

    (PS: Totally inappropriate timing, but I do love your new blog design. And thank you for giving me reason to look up "Antipodean".)

  4. I'm an Antipodean who discovered your blog on the very day that you published your moving post about the death of your good friend.
    How strange the blogworld is, that a total stranger on the other side of the world can be greatly moved by your words. Since then, weirdly, I have seen tributes to him on 2 other blogs that I follow.
    I'm glad you were able to have your own ceremony and say a farewell to Maalie.

  5. Thanks for this. It reminds me that I really need to do something similar for my friend, Deni. We have no cathedrals though, and no cafes to speak of.

    While reading your post I followed behind, knowing the exact location of the places you went, and knowing exactly what they look like. I;m so glad you and Merisi got together to do this.

  6. esbboston: And thanks for your comments

    Merricks: Merisi is a treasure

    smedette: It is glorious - even if for all the wrong reasons

    Alexia: Thanks for your kind words.

    Steph: The best cathedrals are in the mind.