Many years ago as a small child, I have vivid memories of my father’s keenness for the beauty and scent of the woody rhododendron plant. In various spots around the world, he would wax lyrical about their mystery, their colourful demands for attention – the fact that his fag smoke probably irritated the hell out them never seemed to bother him; he was a bit like that, you know the ‘damn your eyes type’, come to think of it that’s probably where I get it from!
Well, apart from his insightful regard for all things ‘natural’, he was also a learned chap in respect of world religions. He knew his Bible, he knew his Koran and he knew just about everything else in between when it came to Godly endeavour, he also knew a lot of stuff that wasn’t at all ‘Godly’ but we won’t go into that here.
Anyway not so long ago, he decided to say a somewhat irreverent ‘Goodbye’ to his offspring and hand in his dinner cards once and for all. Piety was not his thing you see, in spite of all his theological knowledge. A quick budget funeral, no frills and certainly no tears were his final orders and that’s exactly what he got – damn though, these eco coffins cost more than the wooden jobs, this came as a shock I can tell you!
So, off he went in all his learned glory, to that place we all hope to end up but are never able to send a text or an email to confirm our happy arrival.
A few weeks later, the missus barged into my study (as she is wont to do, regardless of violating my creative well-being) with a puzzled look on her lovely face and the words, ‘Julian, what’s all that potash doing around my favourite rhododendron bush?! There’s too much, you’ll kill it off. I mean really!’
To which I replied,‘ My darling, do not fret. That’s my old man, you know how he loved rhododendrons.’
As for the container of my late father’s ashes, that went for re-cycling, again as ordered.