Sitting talking to an FD, rain pouring down outside the foyer doors, the chapel to our left, service in progress.
“Bet you’re glad you aren’t on a burial,” I say. He laughs, no doubt some poor colleague of his has drawn the short straw. Soaked to the skin, coat tails weighing a tonne. But this FD is ok, he’s on a cremation job with me. Luck of the draw, some other poor bastard out in it today.
This job is hard enough but when it rains, my god it gets you down in the dumps. We currently have a complete cremator refit. Our crematorium is not our own. We have engineers, electricians, brickies, people pipe fitting. Our quiet, humble, hard-working crematorium is not our own. All these guys are lovely, hardworking, and sensitive to the environment around them, they’ll happily leave the crematorium when we need them to (when people are coming into the crem to witness cremations) or when we have scheduled chapel services and they are going hell for leather drilling, trying to get the noise complete before the services starts. There is mess everywhere, rakes for the cremators aren’t where they are supposed to be, tools are scattered around in an order which make sense only to the workmen and there’s always someone in the place where you need to be working.
Our small space has transformed into a building site. You go from the serenity of the chapels, to the industrial side of cremation and that’s a drastic change when things are normal, but this time we have a building site on our hands. Your suit jacket shouldn’t touch the walls of a crematorium at the best of times due to the dust. Now you’re having to do dust inspections on your suit when you’ve had it on in the space they are working.
One of the two new, shiny cremators has just gone up and running. It has a bigger width so we can accept wider coffins. So we won’t be shitting ourselves half as much when you see a 33 inch coffin arrive at your chapel doors, knowing you won’t have to squeeze it into a 33 inch cremator door and chamber. You watch it scrape the sides of the cremator walls and you pray to the man upstairs whether you believe in him or not. And it is touch screen. Cremator technology is definitely coming on up in the world. Problem with it for me is it’s like having a new mobile phone; it does the same job as your old one but how it works is all different. I work through habit. I like knowing what buttons I am going to push before I have pushed them. I like having confidence in my own ability to know what to do when the shit hits the fan. I don’t like having to think about things. It will definitely take some getting used to. I will upload some before and after photos when the renovation is complete.
I hate change at the best of times. A few weeks back our fridge broke at work. What does this have to do with anything I hear you ask? Well, the fuckers changed it for a smaller one, that’s what. Who are these fuckers? The truth is, I haven’t actually got to the bottom of who is responsible yet. So we have had at least 15 workmen on site, plus our own 4 members of staff and they have traded us a fridge that is half the size. Half the capacity. It’s filled to the brim. My colleague can’t even fit his lunchbox in the fridge. His sandwiches are sitting amongst the carnage, crushed by cans of drinks. My hummus had fallen amongst the chaos the other day. I found it between a milk 5 days out of date and a mouldy old sandwich someone had forgotten about. Things are going off because nobody has a clue what is going on in there. It’s too small to keep control of all its contents
And this rain lately is just adding to my work woes. Two funeral exit songs summed it up, thunderstorms, lightening, biblical rain and we’re exiting to The sun will come out tomorrow And in the afternoon when the sky had gone even greyer after a day of heavy rain we walked out to Mr Blue Sky by ELO. Sometimes, you just have to have a small smile to yourself as this ying and yang world hits you with some irony.