Walking up to Valhalla
Our endless UK rain gave way to glorious sunshine and a few willowy clouds and Ken had a wonderful send off with all his dearest family and friends this past Monday afternoon, 9th of July. He had asked especially for a Viking funeral and his wife Lisi officiated a lovely ceremony. The ceremony was held on the spectacular Beaulieu River in Hampshire which starts next to homes and gardens, winds past homes to meet the marinas and small boats and then pours into the sea. Ken is joined with all this beauty not so far from where he was born, came of age and where he lived and will continue to surrounded by loved ones and friends. When I was about 6 or 7 I read a story in a school book of two boys who had a little river tributary near their home and sailed a canoe upon it. In the book they also became lost and spent the night in a forest building a 'tent' from branches and leaves. The illustration looked just like where Ken is today.
Early sun on Beaulieu water
Lights the undersides of oaks,
Clumps of leaves it floods and
All transparent glow the branches
Which the double sunlight soaks;
And to her craft on Beaulieu water
Clemency the General's daughter
Pulls across with even strokes.
Schoolboy sure she is this morning;
Soon her sharpie's rigg'd and free.
Cool beneath a garden awning
Mrs Fairclough sipping tea
And raising large long-distance glasses
As the little sharpie passes,
Sighs our sailor girl to see:
Tulip figure, so appealing,
Oval face, so serious-eyed,
Tree-roots pass'd and muddy beaches,
On to huge and lake-like reaches
Soft and sun-warm, see her glide,
Slacks the slim young limbs
Sun-brown arm the tiller feeling,
Before the wind and with the tide.
Evening light will bring the water,
Day-long sun will burst the bud,
Clemency, the General's daughter
Will return upon the flood.
But the older woman only
Knows the ebb tide leaves her lonely.
With the shining fields of mud.
Youth and Age on Beaulieu River, by John Betjeman
The river is always flowing
Relentless towards the costal tides
It travels down to the great ocean
While most of us simply watch from the water side
The water becomes Siddhartha's teacher
Sometimes powerful and stern
Sometimes gentle , forgiving
It never changes in direction
As it carries even mountains down to the sea
I'll take you over
I don't want your money
Just hang on tight
Till we reach the other wall
Kings and beggars
They all cling to my ankle
The horn blows wide, and the currents roar
God fill this gutter
That breaks my shoulder
Smash me to pieces
And wash me to mud
Dry me to dust
And set me to smolder
Please let me dissolve in the autumn flood
The rivers always flowing
But I'm free now
From It's grace
I'll be swept down to the ocean
And now you
You will take my place
-Pete Townshend "The Ferrymen"