I attended the funeral today of Irene Hart, wife of Mill Hill Councillor John Hart. Whilst I may disagree with John on some matters of politics, I like him and find the Mill Hill far more interesting for his presence. John was born in India and brought up in the days when Political Correctness was simply a figment of George Orwells imagination.
The service was beautiful. John had chosen a fine selection of traditional hymns, starting with How great thou art. Despite my love of Punk rock, I always prefer the the traditional hymns at a service. The readings were equally well chosen, featuring two from St Paul and one from Johns Gospel, all talking about why we should not fear death.
When the mass had finished, John addressed the congregation with a beautiful Eulogy about Irene. At such events you learn so much about people. How she was raised learning Catalan, the hardships her family suffered in the Spanish Civil war, how she studied medicine and switched to Philosophy. How John met her and courted her over Chess and Coffee. They were married for over 50 years. John spoke of the good times and there was a beautiful picture of Irene on the front of the order of service.
Irene has not been well for several years and her illness dimmed her flame. For the last couple of years John has not had an easy life, but he has never complained. I've known of how much effort John has put into making sure Irene was comfortable at home. Like many people who has a partner with failing health, he took the burden on with dignity and without complaint.
Afterwards, we retired for a rather good wake at the Three Hammers. The buffet was excellent and it was nice to have a chat with a few of Johns friends in a social setting. As ever John managed to tell me a not quite PC joke and he seemed to be enjoying being surrounded by friends and family. When I lost the 2010 election, I took a bit of solace in the fact that John is Mill Hill through and through. He's had a difficult time and it must be so difficult losing a partner after over 50 years together. John has many good times to look back on. John wrote a book a couple of years ago that was actually rather good, maybe he'll write a follow up now he has a bit of time on his hands. I promised him I'd buy him a pint next time I saw him. I am sure that the rest of his friends and family will keep him entertained over the coming weeks and months. I never really knew Irene, but from Johns eulogy, it is clear that was my great loss, she sounds like an incredible character, who lead an amazing life. Rest in Peace Irene.