None of us suspected that we would be putting his plans into operation quite so soon, but what well-chosen plans they were. (Though we had to cut the playlist down from five songs to three: Forever Young covered by the Pretenders, Ray Davies' Days covered by Kirsty MacColl, and Chuck Berry's Promised Land.)
After a Sunday of torrential rain, Monday was dry, clear and bright. Arriving in the limo with my family, I was overjoyed to see so many people waiting there: colleagues, bikers, cousins, Shutists, university friends of my dad's and some of my and my mum's own closest friends.
The service was thoroughly secular and led by an old acquaintance of ours who brought humour and compassion in abundance. As well as the songs there was a tribute from the bike club and one sent by email from Neil, my dad's oldest friend and my parents' best man, now resident in Oz.
I wanted to read something and struggled for many days to find the perfect passage. In the end I decided to go with an old family favourite, and read the 'more a sort of après vie' bit from The Restaurant at the End of the Universe. I wasn't sure how this would go over with everyone, so it was an enormous relief to look up from the lectern and see appreciative smiles and chuckles.
We'd picked a willow casket, which reminded me rather of a wicker cat basket. It was covered in, surrounded by, garlands and bunches of flowers. When the earth has settled and it's sowing season, a tree of our choice will be planted above it, and wildflowers from my parents' garden just two minutes up the road.
As we walked up the hill to the plot a light aircraft passed overhead, followed by the sound of a motorcycle from the road.
I'm thinking of the days.
I won't forget a single day, believe me.