Search This Blog


Sunday, August 09, 2009

Remember him this way

Reading John Le Carre's "The Tailor Of Panama" on holiday. He based the titular character on his old friend and tailor Doug Hawyard who died last year. To refresh my memory I consulted Hayward's obituary in the Telegraph which included this beautiful detail:

Hayward lived in a flat above his shop, and spent weekends at a house on Lord Hambleden's estate in Oxfordshire. But he remained proud of his Cockney roots; and every week until her death in 1984 he visited his mother, Winifred (who had worked in a bullet-making factory during the war), presenting her each time with a £1 note to pay for her meals-on-wheels.

When she died the family found this money preserved in 15 ice-cream boxes under her bed, along with a note reading: "This money is to get Doug out of prison when they finally get him." She did not believe that her son could earn so much money as a tailor, and assumed that he must have criminal connections.

I'm trying to imagine which obituaries of the future will hint at the same sort of raffish life.