Samba and shantys - a fitting way to say goodbye to 'remarkable' Suzy

Suzanne with Town Crier Roger Bourgein on a Vintage Velo event hosted in The Strand.

Suzanne with Town Crier Roger Bourgein on a Vintage Velo event hosted in The Strand. - Credit: Phil Rowley

Exmouth Town Crier Roger Bourgein writes for the Journal.

Exmouth town crier Roger Bourgein. Picture: Roger Bourgein

Exmouth town crier Roger Bourgein. Picture: Roger Bourgein - Credit: Roger Bourgein

Hello reader, I’ve had a lovely long weekend in Bodmin area, my daughter paid for family and me to stay in cozy chalet beside a lake, an idyll for the lake teemed with fish, actually the beautiful Mirror Carp.

Together, 14-year-old grandson and 74-year-old grandad sat and went

Our bait was fresh bread pinched over the small barbless hook and cast
out close to the bank.

The sun beat down, wind blew gently and our floats moved with the mood of the water.

Suddenly, grandson was saying in that quiet shout of excitement, 'Grandad I’ve got one' and true enough his light rod was bending, he was standing and I was happily grabbing the telescopic landing net to slip under the fish and lift it onto the grassy bank.

I took a picture, hook slipped out and grandson slid the beautiful, stunning gold and large mirror like scaled fish back home. 

Happiness is infectious, our journey homeward was marked by those quiet smiles happy people pass between them.

Now to an event that should have shown the opposite emotions to happiness, a funeral.

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But this funeral truly reflected the gamut of human emotions.

From sobs to sober, from tears to twisted agony to crinkled intimacy.

That remarkable woman Suzy Birkett, we buried in a beautiful woven casket on a peaceful sloping natural burial site, amidst a

Wild wind, driving rain, feet unsteady but resolute. Suzy was carried as not only nature appeared in support but the reverberations of the Samba band she had stipulated rang out across the valley before the Exmouth Shanty
Men, feet in time with her pallbearers sang her to her grave.

Suzy had written copious notes leaving exact instructions for this ceremony.

Town Crier was to be in his best ‘peacock’ robes and to choose a Ted Hughes poem to read. ‘Work and Play’.

There was much music and song, and quite beautiful words and memories.

If you’d been there you’d have understood.

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