A Charlatan Funeral

A delapidated swan shaped pedalo floating on a lake, tied to a mooring.
Madame Charlatan. Telling Misfortunes under a fog of musk and a cloud of fag-ash…….

Old Mother Charlatan has died. In her usual selfish manner, she didn’t even have the decency to tell me her death was imminent. Her mystical powers would have afforded her such knowledge, but even though she’d been poorly for a while, it was nonetheless unexpected when it happened. Not to her of course.

My Mother’s passing comes with mixed blessings. No longer will I have to excuse her behaviour to all and sundry, but on the downside, she is now free to haunt me at will.

I am obliged to organise her funeral. She has left very specific requests, and as she will know whether I fulfil these or not, it’s the lesser of two evils that I do my best.

My Granny Charlatan always swore to the story my Mother was born smoking a cigarello. She came out pouting. The confines of the womb did not suit and the freedom that birth unleashed was more than Granny Charlatan’s world was ready for. Her first word was a sly smirk. Trouble, mayhem and a flamboyant hullabaloo whirled round my Mother her entire mortal life and she intends for her departure to be no different.

There will be no hearse. The funeral ‘procession’ will see her coffin floated across the town’s boating lake, pulled by swan-shaped pedalos. The day of her funeral coincides with our local Scouts’ Annual Jamboree. As it’s in the park next to the lake, I’ve asked the Scoutmaster if we could commandeer some of his lads and lasses to operate the pedalos. The Scoutmaster was only too willing to help. He does seem extraordinarily upset by my Mother’s death and in her will she’s left him her entire terranium plant collection, so perhaps he knew her better than I thought. Always surprised me that she was able to have a hobby that involved care and nurture. And remembering to hydrate something other than herself. The Jamboree will be festooned with bunting and balloons, so at least that’s something on the list that I won’t need to organise myself. Although I still have to ask the Scout bugle players if they could assist in a short fanfare.

After the swan pedalo procession, it will be on to church. My Mother wasn’t a religious woman, but our parish Vicar, also inconsolable at the news, has been specially requested to conduct her service. Funerals can drag on a bit can’t they, so I’m going to have a little pop-up Palmistry booth in the confessional box for anyone bored and wanting their Misfortune told during the service.

There will be no hymns. Instead, we will hear Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Free Bird’ and most of Fleetwood Mac’s entire back catalogue. My Mother’s friend Bunty, from her retirement home, will be entertaining us with a dance to ‘Black Magic Woman’. I’ve been asked to buy some black feathers so she can fashion a little headpiece to match her stockings, but she’ll have to be creative and make do with whatever I can grab off my chickens. Bunty’s 84, so I doubt she’ll have the strength to complain. Or complete her routine.

For my part, I will of course be in charge of catering for the Wake. The Fishmonger has promised to bring some whelks. You may recall the rumour that he is in fact my Father. I’ve never pursued the truth, but he always gives me 12 crabsticks when I only ask for 10 and I have come home before now to find a smoked kipper through my letterbox. So, seafood will be on the funeral menu, as will my very own corned beef and cocktail-cherry party sticks. I was going to make a simple blancmange for dessert, but I’ve been experimenting with a ‘Lucky Dip Pudding’ by hiding some treats inside. Maybe some prunes or olives. Trying to put the ‘Fun’ into ‘Funeral’.

My late husband has promised to turn up for the ‘celebration’. Old Mother Charlatan laughed through his funeral, dressed as Carmen Miranda, so he’s relishing the chance to let his decomposing hair down and bid good riddance. I can’t get involved with how they get on, now that they’ll be sharing the Afterlife. They are both grown spirits, they will have to find a way to avoid each other or rub along. It’s my Granny Charlatan I feel sorry for as she will be caught in the middle as peacemaker. I don’t doubt she’ll have found a 12 bore on the ‘other side’ and will not be afraid to use it.

So, as I say, my Mother’s death brings mixed blessings. I won’t miss the drama. I get to keep the caravan. And her well-stocked drinks cabinet.

I don’t know how many people will turn up to her funeral. Apart from me, the Vicar, the Fishmonger and my dead husband. The Scoutmaster will have to stay with his troops at the Jamboree. They have a packed programme of first aid demonstrations and knot-tying to get through. Hopefully he’ll make it in time for the Wake and that blancmange surprise.

Madame Charlatan
Putting the Shame back into Shaman

MADAME CHARLATAN (here it begins)

Cross My Palm With Silver

Old Mother Charlatan

Verrucas & Vol-au-vents

Fondue & Fortune

The Aftermath

A Charlatan Christmas

The Charlatan Caravan

A Charlatan Challenge

Granny Charlatan

A Charlatan Funeral (you are here)

A Charlatan Farewell




    • And to think you could’ve avoided her altogether. So sorry, for your loss 😉 Thankyou for dropping in on the funeral arrangements. There will be a pew reserved at the back for Lockwood Echo readers for anyone wishing to pop along to check that she’s really gone 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I’m… tentatively sorry? I’m not sure whether I should be sorry for your loss or sorry that you have to organize this funeral. I guess you get to pick. Will you be available for my own funeral, though? You seem to have a talent to organize, er… unusual events.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t know if such a job exists for funerals, like a Wedding Planner. Obviously an Undertaker takes care of the….errr….undertaking. But maybe there’s a niche there for someone to plan the whole shebang. Themed? As I said, putting the Fun into Funeral 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, I would love a themed funeral. I mean, if people are getting out of their homes to see my mortal remains be buried, the least they deserve is a fun event and good food, right?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have a bit of intel
    Some info, if you will.
    I hope that this precipitates
    Some happiness and thrill.
    I’ve named you for a Liebster
    A kind of blog award
    And when somebody gave me one
    I was quite chuffed and floored.
    A part of this whole process?
    You’ve got to write a post.
    And that, for some’s, the reason
    They reject the Liebster most.
    So if you will accept it,
    I hope you find it swell,
    But if you just ignore it
    I’m fine with that as well 🙂


    This is the little write-up I wrote about your blog 🙂

    “The third’s another blog where all
    The writing’s quite a treat
    So read “The Lockwood Echo,”
    I think you’ll find it neat.”

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m dancing on the ceiling
      My heart is filled with glee
      How utterly butterly marvellous
      That you’d consider me

      I have another pending
      Would you consider it Fair Dinkum
      If I honour them together
      And somehow maybe link ‘em?

      Awards bring out the imp in me
      I play fast & loose with rules
      But I pay forward all the lurve
      And deal my giver all the cools

      So thankyou once again kind Sir
      It’s truly made me tingle
      And prodded at my improv skills
      To respond here with a jingle 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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