We were warned to be at the Kirk
thirty minutes early and it was sound advice as the (big) building was more or less full by the time the service began. A great send off for a very much loved local woman and most of this part of the Merse had come to say farewell. When one is used to a scattering of folk in this large building it is amazing to see how it can be filled probably approaching the normal congregations of the time that the church was built when the Parish had well over 1000 souls as compared with 350 or so now. Funerals have their own rhythm-the 20 minute service, the 400 yard walk behind the hearse to the graveyard and the 5oo yard walk back for tea and biscuits at the village hall-in this case Hutton School which is the temporary community centre until the new hall is opened, sparkingly blue roof and all. It is profitable to be there in good time and be at the back to have a good view of all the new arrivals-many I have never seen before and may not again-until the next big funeral of course. It may not have the excitement of a good Irish Wake -tea and biscuits hardly a substitute for cake and a drop of the hard stuff-but friendly and not too morbidly solemn. Somewhat irreverently a report about a funeral -obviously following a great Wake- from a Kerry (allegedly) local paper kept flashing across my mind;'One of the mourners dropped dead at the graveside and this cast an air of gloom over the proceedings'