I’ve just got back from Bruno’s funeral in Nancy, France. It was very moving and I’m glad that I was there.

Bruno was a super person. The words from the funeral service which stick in my mind – assuming I understood the French correcty – were: “To remember Bruno’s smile, all we need to do is close our eyes”. All my sympathies go out to his family and to Dan, who has shown amazing strength over the last week,

I travelled out on Thursday evening, meeting up with Mark, Tak and Nicholas at Stansted and flying to Karlsruhe/Baden airport (Baden Airpark), a lovely modern airport which looks very much as if it used to be a military airfield, possibly American. We hired a car from Hertz and drove through freezing fog to the Etap hotel on the outskirts of Haguenau. Unfortunately we arrived too late for food at the neighbouring Ibis, and the McDonalds driver-thru (or walk-thru in our case) closed seconds before we got there.

On Friday morning we departed at 9.30 after a basic breakfast, and I drove us through a magical frosted landscape to Nancy with Nicholas navigating and admirably coping with the Michelin directions which assumed that the unopened new road was in fact open. We found the SNCF station for Tak to leave his bags, and then spent a short while doing little loops onto the one-way Rue de la Désert attempting to find the Eglise Saint Joseph before discovering that it was almost where we’d started. We had time for a light lunch in a nearby bar (merguez, frites, salade).

The church is a large parish church and it was full, despite being bitterly cold. The service was a full funeral mass, and the parish priest invited Nicholas to concelebrate, although an Anglican, since he was Bruno’s friend. The burial at the Cimetière du Sud was short but very moving, all the more so for being the first I have attended. Finally there was a reception at a church hall elsewhere in Nancy, with hot coffee very welcome, yummy homemade cakes, and some super pictures of Bruno on the tables. There was a strong contingent of Cambridge friends at service, burial and reception.

A smooth journey back today, apart from putting (some of) the wrong kind of petrol in the hire car. We even arrived at Stansted early, and I caught a train home by the skin of my teeth (and a sprint up the platform), in by 11.30am.

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