Would I go to the funeral?
In Ireland, funerals are generally held two days after the death unless of course, close relatives need to travel from afar in which case it might be three days until the burial. In country areas, the funeral is usually preceded by the wake. It is a very busy time for the bereaved.
I wouldn't be going to the wake but I would be trying to straighten up the house in preparation for my visitors. Swisser had stayed the night and the spare bed needed to be changed. I was starting to realise what life must be like for Kerry Sister who runs an Airbnb. After a quick and largely futile (four dogs, wet weather, and Bert) sweep and mop it was time to pick Ganching up. She had arranged with Our Joe to attend the wake outside the city of Armagh, a little over 60 miles away. That left my evening free to continue tidying the house but I was so exhausted from the previous day's outing that I fell asleep on the sofa.
My sister returned sometime around eleven o'clock and we stayed up until after midnight hemming funeral skirts and chatting. I checked my route on Google Maps and printed it out then went to bed feeling a little anxious about the next day's journey. I have a horror of lateness, the road was not familiar to me and a lot hinged on London Sister's plane being bang on time. I slept badly and woke far earlier than I needed to - maybe four hours shuteye. Not enough.
Still, my early start gave me an opportunity to have a sensible chat with myself and I was calm enough as we set off. The plane was dead on time and all was looking good. London Sister had printed out a far better itinerary than mine and she has the reputation of being an excellent navigator so I was feeling confident enough. Until I messed it up at the carpark. I couldn't figure out how to use a credit card to get out of the damn place. Panic bubbled up. But not to worry - my sisters were there.
You can do this Nelly! You can get out of the airport! You're doing great!
With this encouragement ringing in my ears, I gathered up two pounds and fifty pence and went to the parking office, explained my predicament (stupidity) paid over the cash and they raised the barriers. We were off!
And it all worked out well. We got to the church half an hour early. The service was sad but lovely and afterward had a delicious bowl of soup in the church hall. The priest sat beside us but didn't annoy us. Then this thing happened. A man, a very nice man, sat down beside me and informed me that his wife reads my blog. If she happens to be reading it now maybe she'll tell him how welcome I felt in that place I'd never visited before. And, seeing how decent and good his family are I would have loved to have known his mother.