The Last Hurrah

I promised my mother on her 89th birthday that I would take some of her ashes to London. My mother spent three years in London: a year in about 1933, a year in 1965 and a year in 1974. She long felt a connection to the city particularly to the areas around Muswell Hill and Highgate Village. She used to enjoy a beer at The Flask in Highgate (not the pub of the same name in Hampstead) and The Spaniards Inn in Hampstead.

So in April I did as I promised. As I told my sister my mum had one last great journey. I took a portion of her ashes with me from Sydney (she had already journeyed up from Melbourne) to Singapore where she stayed for six months. She had always wanted to come to Singapore where her Great Uncle spent some time as a guest of the Japanese during WWII. She was meant to be here in 1961 but that did not pan out. Then she flew on the A380 to London and took the Heathrow Express to Paddington. All firsts. And then by underground and the overground (which she last rode when it was a British Rail train in 1965) we went to Richmond. A walk upstream towards Hampton Court Palace and I found a nice place for her to enter the river. In she went and I scrambled back up the bank and started walking back towards the station.

The container she was in is meant to dissolve within a few minutes of hitting water and that is what happened in the ocean in Sydney in September. But 10 minutes into my walk back I saw her floating down the river.

So at the end of her journey she took a nice jaunty ride down the river. Then a duck or some sort of water fowl took some interest but then abandoned the pecking and looked elsewhere.

The last I saw the package was breaking up and the ashes no doubt shortly floated into the river and began their long journey to the English Channel. I spent a good part of the day thinking about my mother’s London years.

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