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.


  1. This wonderful anecdote reminds me that even at our most blameless, we are still causing our parents anxiety.

  2. This is MY mum to a tee.

  3. It's what makes humanity so fascinating.

  4. Anonymous10:10 am

    Generational anxiety can work the other way too though. I have a friend who told me that his daughter was so worried that her parents were short of money that after she had been given her pocket money she would slip fifty pence pieces into her mum's purse. That was in the 80s though. Wonder if it would happen today.

  5. I think I've got the tickets from many of the gigs I've gone too (yes it's spoddy but how do stop putting them in the draw once you start).
    I'm always amazed that there are people I meet who have never been to a gig and if they have it's level 42 at wembley.