Saturday, 28 August 2010

One Day of Sadness, Another Day of Pride

Friday was a sad day as I attended the funeral of my uncle who sadly passed away due to ill health at the age of 73.

His funeral was a dignified and respectful ceremony attended by such a large number of friends and family that there was standing room only. This was a mark of the genial and gentle man that my uncle was.

My Aunt (my uncle's wife) is real trooper and a formidable lady. During her working life she rose to be headmistress of a large comprehensive school, and I recall such was the esteem in which she was held that at her retirement event a message of congratulations was sent by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair. She has travelled the world both with my uncle and as a solo traveller and is a strong and compelling character. The loss of her steadfast companion is however a fundamental loss to her and for me was symbolised by the dignified and utterly heartpiercing bow she took before the coffin as we left the crematorium. In this one simple act was reflected her loss, respect and love for her life's partner who will be dearly missed.

After such a sad day I spent today in an entirely more frivolous manner. I met a friend in the city centre to watch the Manchester Pride parade, an annual event put on by the Manchester lesbian, gay and bisexual community and which has long been a highlight of the August bank holiday weekend for us Mancunians.

The parade was led by Gandalf no less, the lovely Sir Ian Mckellan, whom I have been fortunate enough to encounter once before at a book signing and who comes across as a very twinkly eyed, friendly and excitable person when in public, which is lovely considering his impressive thespian stature.

Here are a few photos of the event which was wonderful to be a part of. Despite the rain there was an abundance of friendly good spirits, and it did the heart good to be part of such a fun filled, happy and big gay community!

Sir Ian Mckellan

The cast of Coronation Street were out in force,

as were representatives of the police, NHS and emergency services.

There were also angels, creepy synchronised swimmers, the obligatory navy boys, doctors, many gay icons, and my personal favourite - the lesbian, gay and bisexual WWII land army.

A good day was had by all, including myself as I then got to squeeze in a bit of shopping at a vintage clothes fair, purchasing a few bargain bits of jewellry and a lovely brown leather satchel for under ten quid, followed by a couple of civilised glasses of wine and the tram home for 7.30 pm.