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cremation ashes sea

Gran’s ashes run aground


The Bournemouth Echo carried a bitter sweet tale of a family who were carrying their Gran’s ashes on a boat to be scattered at sea near the Old Harry Rocks in Dorset. Unfortunately the boat got into trouble and got stuck on the rocks. Apparently they had to be rescued by the RNLI, which the whole family thought was rather amusing and quite an adventure. What strikes me was the humour that family seemed to find in the whole thing – is this just British thing and is it exacerbated by the ashes ceremony, humour so often coming out of emotion?

The one other thing I found interesting about this was it would appear they had not chartered the boat themselves ” The family accounted for almost half the 38 passengers on board the boat when it ran aground at around noon.” . Interesting that the family thought didn’t mind sharing the boat with strangers? And I wonder what the other passengers felt?

4 thoughts on “Gran’s ashes run aground

  1. Chris - 26th August 2010

    Thank you for your response Richard. The boat crew kept a separate area for us on the lower deck at the back (and closer to the water). It was very private. I think the other passengers were barely aware. Had I been a passenger on a boat where a family was scattering ashes, I would have been quite pleased to be present – these rituals are often mystified because we so rarely witness them (except in flms).
    We were able to laugh so much because Mum would have been really angry had she known she would go before Dad. She had always joked tah she could not wait for him to go so that she could have some freedom and spend some money!. It was if she was saying ‘ you are staying here with me!’ She would also have been cross that her daughters had all fallen out – so it was also like she was making us stay confined, so we had to make an effort to get on!

  2. chris - 25th August 2010

    Up until the boat went aground the ‘family’ were a collection of individuals separate in their grief – the incident ( and 5 hrs together, rather than one)reminded us that we were a family and made differences less significant. We were able to laugh because it was as if Mum was keeping us there longer. Laughter does not diminish grief , nor is it a sign of disrespect- sorrow and joy can often be felt at the same time. Thank you Charles for your comments

    1. Richard - 25th August 2010

      Thank you so much for dropping us a line. I sense that my posting has annoyed you, if it has please accept my sincere apologies the site is there to help people have the confidence to do just this sort of thing and explore this subject which is so often unmentioned, it is certainly not there to judge. I couldn’t agree more about about the humour and grief relationship – I wondered whether the link was universal or a instead a cultural thing. As for the other occupants in the boat – I was really intrigued by this. The way it was reported, I wondered how you were going to conduct a ceremony with people you did not know and at such close quarters…?

  3. Charles Cowling - 18th August 2010

    What a lovely story! And what interesting reflections. British? I should coco. Modern Brit funerals often incorporate dark, anarchic humour, especially in the choice of music. But of all the funerals at which I have officiated, those which will be most memorable for families are those which enjoyed a whoopsy moment — rain dripping through the ceiling, the bearers stumbling and almost dropping the coffin, the candle which fell with a clatter during the committal. It’s why I always say that seamless = soulless. Interesting, too, how often mourners say, “It was her wot done it.” This lot sound wonderfully unself-conscious. Yes, I wonder what the other voyagers thought. Hey, you’ve lifted my spirits and made me smile!

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