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On a Funereal Note
We live close to four different graveyards (it's something you can put in the Green Belt without too much trouble from Planning departments) of which one is Muslim. This, of course, being Chigwell and therefore full of the rich and ex-East End villains, categories which are not mutually exclusive, we occasionally see some OTT funerals. While I have not yet managed to catch the white horses and hearse (which I think many be Muslim) on camera, the blacks came by the other day, and while one cannot be seen to be hearse-chasing, I did get a few photos.

Here comes the hearse

Black Plumed Pair

Glass Hearse

I must say that it almost tempts me into changing my mind about the el-cheapo disposal of myself I have planned...

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Does the wreath in the back spell out MUM?

My own plans mostly involve a cardboard box, but it would be quite nice to be a gangster's mother and get a flashy send-off.

Yup. It spells MUM - and there were two huge black stretch limos following behind it.

The front one looks like a Bentley from the grille, which is an oddly racy choice for a funeral company!

The picture is cropped for balance.

If it helps, here are the cars from that side of the picture...

to check the car

I know when they went past me they seemed to go on forever.

Yup, that's definitely a Bentley in front. The one behind is either a Bentley or a Rolls I think.

More than several years ago (while Dad was still alive), he and Mum discussed the possibility of cardboard coffins. Unfortunately, back in Those (Good Old) Days, such things weren't readily available, and Mum discovered they could only be bought in ... packs of 10.

Which led to some alarmingly silly family discussions about who they could palm the other eight off on.

Re: Cardboard coffins

My Plan B involves Colourful Coffins, who very considerately have a showroom not far from here.

I have to say that the prospect of a horsey funeral tilted me right over from my low-fuss original plan (may it be enormously delayed). My current theory is that a cardboard casket will offset the cost, and that horses are lower-carbon emitters than the traditional hearses. Gorgeous photos, thank you for sharing!

I know! It is tempting. I believe Rob Holdstock's recent funeral featured a wicker coffin.

The horse-drawn hearse seems to be one of the optional extras now quite widely on offer (I suspect that the funeral business has quietly been expanding its offer just as the wedding business has): and I see no reason why you shouldn't mix and match.

It's the white hearse drawn by white horses I am fascinated by - I've only seen it a couple of times from the car, down near the Muslim cemetery (though also, therefore, near a Council one.)

Very handsome outfit (and photos, thank you). I see the driver has a lap robe (unless that's part of his marvellous caped driving coat, how Regency), but the shotgun not, the better to display his beautiful grey trousers. And the silver-handled walking stick! OTT indeed.

It's a stylish way to go, if nothing else :-)

I used to love seeing the Gypsy floral arangements when we lived in Ash Vale (the use of the horse-drawn herse, mourners, etc. reminded me). Not just the grave of the deceased, but other graves get decorated. There are huge tributes like the "MUM", often relating to the interests of the person. My favourite was a life-sized motorbike. A friend has told me that a relative had a television with the Eastenders logo.

I think there is a relationship between the Gypsy funerals and the East End ones, though I am not entirely sure about it.


I recommend Simon Evan's
Stopping Places: A Gypsy History of South London and Kent
as a good book on the subject.

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