Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A message to the Leadership of Barnet Council - Don't mess with the dead !

***** Warning - this blog contains even more deranged rantings than usual *****
I sincerely hope all of the cabinet of Barnet Council are committed athiests, for their own sake. Let me explain why. Last night, the Leaders of Barnet Council met to discuss selling off Hendon Cemetary. I chose not to attend. My mother, my father, my Grandma, my Grandpa, my Godmother and a whole stack of uncles and aunties and friends are buried there.  One day, I hope I am (if they ever find the body). I find it very hard to be rational and reasonable given this fact, when I read council reports that say things like
The dilapidations, disrepair and lack of modern, fit for purpose facilities act as a deterrent to using Hendon as a venue of choice.
In plain English (with **** for those of you of a delicate disposition), it means "The bunch of C**** (ie The Leadership of Barnet Council) running the cemetry, have let the final resting place of my nearest and dearest fall into rack and ruin". Last night they were discussing "outsourcing" it (ie flogging it off). I was planning to go and film the whole sorry shooting match, where it was discussed, but I bottled it. I was genuinely worried I may do or say something I'd regret. I doubt that many things would provoke such a response, but my parents final resting place is one such thing. My parents are buried next to the grave of an eight month old baby, which for years has been lovingly tended. When my wife was pregnant with Matt, we visited my parents grave and the sight of the baby's mum laying flowers was too much for her. We had to leave immediately, with her in a flood of tears.

I also happen to believe that this Conservative administration contributed in a big way to my mothers final demise. In 2001 she had a stroke and found many things difficult. She was determined to live independently in her flat, but to ensure she ate properly, meals on wheels were arranged. In April 2007, Barnet Council outsourced the service. Here is an extract of a letter I sent to the leaders of the council and my local councillors at the time :-

As you may be aware the meals on wheels service provided by Barnet Council today changed operators. My mother, who is 81 years old and disbled following a stroke, generally relies on this service for a hot meal at lunchtimes. Under the previous provider, the meals would come without fail before 12 Noon. My mother was rather upset when the previous lady who delivered her dinner informed her that her company had lost the contract and a new supplier would be taking over. If you are familiar with the elderly, routine becomes a matter of paramount importance. Having already become unsettled by this change, my mother became extremely distressed when the meal did not arrive.
Eventually the meal was delivered at 5.10pm, over 5 hours later than usual. My sister who is visiting from America, was with my mother and was informed by the driver that the meal had been on the van since 13.00. It was completely dried up and inedible(to say nothing of the health risk of having a meal on a van that long). The delivery company informed my sister that there were at least 10 outstanding deliveries.
This pattern continued for several weeks. I believe the stress of this added to the realisation for my mother that her independence was reliant on a less than reliable council made her lose the will to live. She struggled on, but this was a major turning point for her. When she passed away in August 2008, I vowed that as a mark of respect, I'd fight for all the people like her,  who don't have a stroppy son. That's one of the reasons I write this blog. To read the report on cemetaries in such cold terms, made my blood boil. I ducked out, choosing instead to watch Manchester City get humiliated by Bayern Munich. As I watched the match unfold, I thought "maybe this is my punishment for ducking the meeting to decide the fate of my parents grave" (us Irish Catholics are a mighty superstitious lot). Then I read Mrs Angry's blog on the meeting. Unlike me, she hadn't bottled out of it - -

And what did the debate consist of? Absolutely F*** all. They simply all said agreed. That was it. Now I feel like a C*** for not recording the whole debacle. In actual fact I'd I had a tip off about what happened before I went to bed. It clearly troubled me. Before my mum passed away, I'd visit her every evening after work and share a guinness with her. We'd discuss all manner of things. It's a routine I really miss. When I finally fell asleep, I found myself dreaming that I was back in her front room. We were having a guinness and a lovely chat.  All of a sudden she turned to me and said "Why didn't you go up and film those bastards, people have a right to see that". I was completely taken aback. I suddenly remembered she was dead. She then said "Mark my words, they will regret this, they should respect the dead. They will be cursed for this". It was extremely vivid. Wheras I usually forget dreams within five minutes of waking up, this has troubled me all day. My mother had occasionally used the phrase "They will be cursed for this", but only at the most trying of time. She once told me she'd personally put a curse on Adolph Hitler when one of his bombers had destroyed the shop she was working at in New Bond Street. She used to say "The next day the papers told how we'd beaten Hitler in the battle of El Alamein and the Germans never won another battle". As I said, the Irish are a very superstitious lot.

As I said, hope the Cabinet of Barnet Council are a bunch of athiests, because I have a sneaking suspicion that if they are not, they may very well not be sleeping too well in future. I think only a very brave or a very unsuperstitious soul shits on the dead relatives of the people they are meant to serve. And mark my words (make of them what you will) they will live to regret this, maybe not today, or even tomorrow, but I truly believe they will regret this. I'd like to take the opportunity to remind them what happened to the last bunch of Tories to disrespect the dead of Mill Hill -

You may draw your own conclusions about the fate of Dame Shirley Porter and her cronies, but I believe that the saying "Show some respect for the dead" is as much a warning as a request.

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