Yesterday afternoon, in Plymouth, my friend Andy's funeral took place. We only saw him once every year or so, if that; but it was one of those friendships that you can pick up and put down over the years and they remain strong. No cause of death has been established - but I spoke to his mother on Wednesday night and she said that it must have been very quick. Although his body has been released to the family for burial with a temporary death certificate, samples have been taken and medical investigations are still happening.
I met Andy ten years ago, when I was first dating Crazy Tom - they were flatmates in Canterbury. They were both working at the IT department at the university and they shared a particularly squalid house in a particularly squalid corner of the town, just off the Sturry Road. It smelt of 'boy'; and they once managed to set the vacuum cleaner alight whilst desperately trying to clean up the sitting room before another prospective flat-mate came to view the place.
Some of the things I will remember about him are:
- His feet. He was always barefoot if he could be.
- He once paid me the ultimate compliment of telling me that of all the people he visited, I made him feel the most comfortable because he didn't feel like he was cluttering up my house and making it messy.
- His kindness to me the first time he visited me after my non-divorce. We hugged on Newport Station and he said "Just keep going, it does get better".
- The fact that he turned in his job and followed his travelling bug - he trained as snowboard instructor and a surf instructor, amongst other things and he travelled around the world periodically, teaching.
- The way he'd just pop up out of nowhere after an absence of six months, or twelve, or eighteen and things would be exactly the same.
- The Ultimate Custard Powder Fight we once had in his digs at Canterbury. Did you know that you can make a great flame-thrower by filling a bike pump with custard powder and pumping it over the full-on gas-jets of a domestic cooker?