Mel, Jethro, Emma,and Joy are already outside the funeral parlour. As we get towards time, more familiar faces arrive and then it’s time to in.
The pastor is an old friend of Martin’s from his days at the highland theological college. He clearly knew Martin we’ll and talked hilariously about Martin’s strengths and foibles. I hadn’t realised that Martin has considered the homeless of Inverness to be his ministry.
Mel told us how her dad was so supportive that the family describe any supportive act as “doing a Martin.” Marlon reminisced that the grand children loved being with him, and admitted that they called him “gaga”, because they thought he was mad.
Moz give me and Diane a lift to the cemetery. It’s not raining. There’s another short, moving address from the pastor and Martin is in his wicker coffin in the ground.
We mill briefly. I chat with Chai and Shanna then Moz and Ewan play silly buggers in their respective white vans and we’re back to the Legion in Inverness for lentil soup, sandwiches, and a patchwork of old family photos.
I hurry to the station and get chugged back to Edinburgh. Megan is waiting. I put us on the wrong bus, we get the right bus back, and drive home. On the way Matt and I have a polite confrontation with our boss... they’re starting a redundancy process on two of our colleagues.
Just enough time. Heat up the soup. Add more spice. Chop coriander. Light fire. Head to the hall. Fifty people are waiting. They’re way too early, chatting merrily. Mike arrives. Nick and Pegs are the last to take their seats before the traditional selection of soups is served: lentil, leek & potato, tomato, spicy chicken.
There’s an assortment of 32 puddings laid out. Many people will be taking some of their pudding home. High point, as always, is Margaret’s clooty dumpling with whisky cream.
Cheese and coffee over and it’s raffle time. It seems to go on forever. And then we subtly start tidying up, while knots of people drink and talk. Subtlety gone, we herd them out into the dark.
Nick, Pegs, Megan, Mike and I head back to the house. We have inherited the shop bought cakes that no one took home. Today’s cake is tomorrow’s chicken food.