I travelled up to Hereford on Thursday for the funeral of the great Frank Keating. Boarding at Paddington for our three and a half hour journey I bumped into Peter Bills who I hadn't seen for a decade or so and sitting opposite us was Alan Rusbridger, piano player and editor. Our journey was constantly held up at Evesham and beyond, and we made it to Belmont Abbey, the former Catholic school (now also RIP-ed), with minutes to spare.
The Abbey was packed largely with former journalists including Charlie Wilson, Charles Burgess, Matt Engel (probably Frank's closest mate), John Hopkins, David Hands, Ian Todd, Peter Hayter, Pat Collins, Tom Clark and Trevor Bond.
Matt gave a wonderful farewell speech which had us laughing in the aisles. I hope he publishes it. I asked Alan Rusbridger if he would consider publishing the Best of Keating and he seemed surprised it hadn't been published before.
The clergy refused to allow Anglicans to join in the mass which was mean and miserable: small wonder the church is so irrelevant to our lives.
There was a party afterwards which probably finished some time into the early hours but by then I was long gone back on that wretched train to London. In the time it took you could have been in Istanbul.