A moment of sadness today in the café as a poster announcing the death of a longtime regular went up behind the bar. The (Portuguese) man looked terribly ill when I last him in the café last month. He was with either two of his daughters or grand daughters and he caught me briefly glancing at him as I noted his alarming decline.
Some years ago, he'd got a new job that saw him working with some English guys. I think it was as a road sweeper and every morning he'd turn up in the café with this guy, Alan, who was almost an entire picnic short of a picnic. Alan was a dead ringer for Bruce Forsythe, even sounded the same, and it quickly became evident to us regulars he wasn't the full ticket. The now deceased Portuguese man, like many in that older Iberian community, and despite decades here in London, had terrible English, but the two formed a close bond that was nice to see and you could tell the deceased had warmed to his eccentric colleague.
It's a long-established tradition in the café that if a regular dies, the poster along with details of the funeral goes up behind the bar. If I wasn't so reserved in there, and assuming the café survives the onslaught of gentrification in SW8, when my time is up, I think I'd be a certainty to have my picture go up behind the bar. I don't know about the funeral details. I have no plans to pay for mine. As long as I get admission into the AFTERLIFE, I'm not too fussed what happens. Given attendance to my funeral is likely to be poor, it's not something I lose much sleep over.
I hope the newly deceased finds the coffee in the AFTERLIFE is every bit as good as it is in the café.