Family Funeral 4
Three weeks later the relatives all re-assembled at The Bull for the reading of The Will. It was a lovely, sunny morning, considering that November was upon us... The inside of The Bull was all shining and clean and there was an array of sandwiches, crisps, nuts and pork scratchings on display at a price.
The church clock struck twelve, the landlord was being kept very busy at the bar so noone had really noticed that Mr Wellington, the solicitor, was an hour late. Four of my five uncle Bills, married to my Dad`s older sisters, were by now getting well and truly oiled; their wives, Aunt Agnes, Aunt Roz, Aunt Sybil and Aunt Ellen were sitting in a corner each on their fourth glass of sherry. No doubt the sisters were discussing their expectations from Uncle Bertie. Each, unbeknown to the others, had visited him during his final few months, Aunt Agnes had even taken a meat and potato pie for him while Aunt Roz had offered to go round and do a bit of cleaning, actually, what she really wanted was to have a root round while Uncle Bertie had a nap. Aunt Sybil had offered to do some shopping and Aunt Ellen would call round each week with a copy of the local rag. Each had sent him Get Well Soon cards, knowing full well that he wouldn’t.
Aunt Sybil and Aunt Ellen were known to pay frequent visits to Clara Sutton, a so called fortune teller who lived nearby. To say they hung on her every word was putting it mildly. When Clara inferred that Aunt Sybil`s husband was having an affair with a local school teacher, poor Uncle Bill Lodge`s life was made a misery. All he was doing was lending a hand with Mrs Poole`s garden while her husband was recovering from a hernia operation. Aunt Ellen spent quite a lot of money hiring a private detective to keep an eye on Uncle Bill Stewart whose only reason for visiting Jason Harvey`s was to take lessons on how to play his recently acquired piano accordion. Fancy thinking things like that about Uncle Bill Stewart! Aunt Ellen was no angel herself.
Anyway, it was when Clara hinted at an imminent family windfall they both immediately thought of Uncle Bertie and decided it was time they started to pay him some attention, after all, he must have quite a bit of brass stowed away.
It is true; Uncle Bertie was quite well off. He worked at a local printing firm owned by the father of his future wife, Pru.. On the death of her father, Pru had inherited the printing works, a thriving business capable of taking on large, lucrative contracts; Pru wasn’t particularly interested in any of this so Uncle Bertie was left to follow in his father-in-law’s footsteps and take over. Business increased and so did Uncle Bertie`s bank account, and so did the expectations of some of his relations. Continued...
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