25th June 2009

Dear all, †

With the date of dadís posthumous piss up, (sorry, sombre and dignified memorial event, ahem) looming I thought Iíd contribute some copy for Johnís website. This is an attempt to let you know what to expect on the day as the format may deviate very slightly from a standard funeral service. You may well have read dadís skeleton plan (Dadís choice of words, not mine - I asked him when he drafted it whether he should perhaps chose a different turn of phrase, he grinned and shook his head...) outlining his vision for the event.

In line with the big manís ethos of 'If itís not fun youíre doing it wrong' the day will take the form of a happy celebration. The dress code is simply Ďno blackí and I for one will probably be sporting some kind of luridly patterned shirt. Donna (my partner) currently has her head in her hands, she has tried so hard over the years to imbue in me some kind of sartorial taste.

The ingredients for a good party are generally pretty simple. First and foremost is ensuring that the event is attended by Ďthe right sort of peopleí. Iím assuming that dad only associated with fine upstanding members of the community so no worries on that front. If by chance there are any hooligans, reprobates, SDMC/ex-Sportair members or the like reading this (you know who you are) Iím sure itís purely coincidental. †John has been doing a fine job of spreading the word through some key characters in each area of dadís life (I understand the mafiaís structure works on a similar principle.) †Anyway, a thank you from me to John and the various Capos of the extended Family.

The next essential ingredient is obviously some kind of venue. The last time I was involved in organising a party at the family home was my 16th birthday. I wonít go into details but suffice to say it got a little out of hand and dad specified the condition on which I would be allowed another chance. This condition has unfortunately now been met. The format for the afternoon is a garden party and barbeque: the venue is provided along with the barbeque facilities but please treat this as a picnic in the country and bring whatever you desire for your personal picnicking needs. What Iím saying in a roundabout way is that weíre not providing food, crockery, cutlery etc... In fact there will be a hog roast taking place for anyone who wants to supplement their own Ďsacrificial sausagesí (again dadís words not mine) and we will have some plates and cutlery available but probably not enough for everyone. It might also be nice to have a communal food table so if youíre feeling keen and fancy bringing a dish to share with others it will add to the culinary variety and sociable nature of the occasion. The decision to make the event self catering has been made so that we can concentrate on other critically important aspects of the day.

A free, serve yourself bar will be operating with kegs of lager and ale, along with Ďvin ploncí, cider and soft drinks. Mum has been working as hard as ever on the garden and Iím sure it will look lovely in the bright summer sunshine thatís been booked with the Met Office. In the extremely unlikely event of the odd raindrop there will be a large marquee. It is intended that this be a day out for the whole family so, weather permitting, there should be enough going on to keep the kids happy too (Iíve only been a father for a few weeks and am still getting used to this whole concept. Suddenly pubs that are Ďchild friendlyí are a good thing. I fear I have much to learn and many world views to rethink.). Feel free to bring along anything that will add to the fun, thereís plenty of open space in which to throw Frisbees, kick a ball about etc.

During the afternoon a jazz band will be playing what dad termed Ďhis kind of musicí. To the best of my knowledge Ďhis kind of musicí was not German Techno or 70ís disco pop but if Iím wrong I look forward to hearing the jazz musicians giving it their best shot.

Although the Ďmain eventí is scheduled to finish at tea time I am hoping that as many people as possible will stay on and celebrate into the evening. Bring a tent and stay over. Hangovers can be dealt with by firing up the barbeques again in the morning and weíll have a fry-up!

So, what else do you need to know? There will be a photo display highlighting some of the fun dad managed to cram into his life. If you have any good photos that you donít mind displaying for the afternoon then please bring them along. We will be attempting to thin out dadís archive of flying and motor sport magazines and would appreciate them going to good homes - a charity box for the Kent Air Ambulance will be available for donations. Thereís plenty of car parking available (in a grass field). If anyone is planning to arrive by air then you should contact the good folk at Headcorn International Aerodrome (John will be able to furnish you with the relevant contact details if required). Directions for arrival by car will be posted on this website shortly.

I think thatís all for now. Please check back here nearer the time for any additions.

Looking forward to seeing everyone on the 11th!

All the best


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