The past is another country. And so is Ruislip. But down the less used arm of the Piccadilly line I travelled to Jock’s funeral.
In the end there were eight of us from Keele plus of course Jock,who though not with us, was the reason for the reunion. Four women and four men. All four women had married their campus sweethearts. Only one Merrilyn, had stayed true and she was accompanied by John. They still lived in the same house they bought in the 60s, only a few miles from our Alma Mater.
Just to make things more confusing Sandy who had seperated from Val was now living with another Keele lady Cathy who had previously been married to Keele legend Ken.(Where is Iris Murdoch when we need her?) To make up the party David , who it seems took the sixties so seriously that he has lived in communes most of his life. He reintroduced me to MaryJ. Mighty fine.
But it was all very civilised ,although their marriages might not have gone the full term the Keele ladies showed their style and balance by remaining friends with their exes. Living proof perhaps that in today’s environment divorce does not necessarily mean tanks on the lawn, kamikaze lawyers and a life of bile. Val and Cathy may have formed an orderly queue for Sandy but they are good friends.
We learnt that Jock had given up the last years of his life to look after his ailing, ageing Mum. He was a joker for his grandchildren. And others. At one point he took the train to Swansea so he could post Valentines to several ladies in Ealing. He was captain of his local Ealing golf club. And judging by the 100 or so who crammed into the Crematorium much loved. He may have lived alone but he was never lonely.
We walked out to the sound of Dave Edmunds “I knew the bride”,not a tune I knew but Jock’s favourite.
I had forgotten that he played the bagpipes. But the mystery of why he gave up law to become a mini cab driver remained. One said that he was involved in a scam which barred him, another that he had a mid life crisis, another spoke of a break down brought on by his new love deserting him. It could be he just got bored,it happens. He was following in his lawyer father’s footsteps and sometimes that is the very last thing a son should do.
Part of Jock’s ancestry was Icelandic and maybe that mystical Nordic ingredient had taken him somewhere where dull Anglo Saxons can never go. Anyway all was washed away as the rain began and booze flowed at the Duke of Kent which over looked Jock’s beloved Ealing Golf Course. As Phil Spector’s first hit crooned, “To know him was to love him” and many did.