Day to day musings of a cat minder/ sitter in North Tyneside and Newcastle upon Tyne . For details of services go to http://www.catminders.biz

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Welcome to CatMinders

Saturday, 28 February 2009

CoffinCar: Yoko Ono


We go out in Coffin Car .
The hearse drives you round the city . Salutary experience as you wait to be collected . We wait on a marble seat inside the Baltic art space as our driver is delayed and at this point realise we have given no thought to how this will feel . Too late to turn back . I acknowledge that it is the three year's anniversary of Mandy's death and that when we booked our outing in Coffin Car the dates had not connected for me .
As the car pulls up slowly I flashback to earlier in the morning on the dogwalk when four hearses waited outside the roman catholic curch in the village . The doors of the hearse were still open , and the coffin was gone . The pall bearers wait at the curb side and presumably the service is going on inside the church . As I walk past with the dog the four men and one women , all dressed in black frock coats , laugh at some private joke , surprising me at the time . I expect sobriety in public , but there is no one to see except me , in my puffa jacket , and my greyhound looking curiously at them , tall thin birds , thinner than her . We pass on , to the sea , and on our return they are still there , chilled no doubt in their thin attire , without the running we have done . A long catholic Mass I think to myself . They are not laughing now . But happy enough , in their work, or so it seems .
As Deb and I climb aboard it occurs to me that I had envisaged myself seated in the back of the car , perhaps waving regally from behind a little curtain . Where exactly ? With the coffin ? I had not anticipated the coffin space , rather the funeral car I have travelled in at the funerals of my grandparents , the long car with three or four rows of seats , the lump in my throat and stomach , the shock and horror in every bit of me .
Here there are curtains screening the coffin space and we are in the front next to the driver whom in my head I name Derek though I have no idea who he is .
We have instructions not to distract him . I try not to , though squashed up so tightly next to him in his bulk it is hard not to ask a few questions . He responds that the car is a Daimler and that yes intially there were quite a lot of takers but the exhibition is almost at an end now , not so many now .
We fall silent . Deb offers mints . We pull away . The city stares at us . We stare back .
And later , Nat and I go out , into the city , for a memorial dinner , for Mandy .

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