When I retired as a humanist celebrant I thought I'd stop writing this blog, but my fascination with all things death-related prompted more posts. They're just written from a slightly different perspective, that's all. Oh, and I still do the odd one, by special request.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Wrapped in banana leaves

Keith Floyd had a Humanist funeral in Bristol. I'm told that it was reported in a local paper that there were "insufficient funds" to pay for his funeral, so I hope the celebrant got paid.

Floyd's partner Celia Martin chose a banana leaf coffin, because he sometimes cooked things wrapped in leaves - cabbage or vine, I assume. Sounds like a nice, environmentally-friendly thing to do, but I'm not sure that the crematorium staff will have appreciated it.

There's an increasing choice of materials for coffins, including cardboard, willow (which tends to creak when it's being lowered into a grave), and bamboo, which is less likely to sag in the middle than willow. None of them are suitable for large people, and there are more of them too.

The trouble with cremating coffins made from these materials is that they catch fire very quickly, I've been told. If you've got a nice hot furnace and you slide in a cardboard coffin, it tends to go whoosh, so the crematorium staff have to work fast before the body is completely exposed. They'd rather not have to poke about and push it in.

So, be considerate, please. Choose cardboard, creaky willow, bamboo or banana leaves if you're planning an interment, but if you're going to have someone cremated, choose a rigid coffin that will take a bit longer to warm up.
My source in the West Country informs me:
It was reported there were insufficient funds for his funeral. Apparently he still owed £50,000 to one of his four wives. So if he died penniless, how come he spent £145 on his last meal in Lyme Regis?
Maybe he ran up a tab?


Charles Cowling said...

MDF also burns fierclier and hotlier, so you need less gas, and that's environmentally friendlier.

Oh, and cheaper to buy.

The Limit said...

Thats great advice, thank you. I'm going to share this post in FB.