I’ve lived in the same street for almost 30 years. Last week was the first funeral we’ve had, from these few homes, in all that time. I suppose a higher proportion of these rituals take place from care homes, than used to be the case.
This was the funeral of my next door neighbour: a straightforward, intelligent, easy-going working-class Irishman for whom I had a deep respect. We had a sound neighbourly relationship of mutual support and keeping an eye out.
Last week I asked my fellow neighbours to join us at the end of the street, when the cars left to go to the church. There were about 20 of us, not arrayed like soldiers but stood informally in silence, as the cortege passed. It was just a simple gesture from residents to one of their own and for the family. And the simplest of community organising exercises.