Funny how an offhand remark can set you thinking. I have been mulling over where to be buried, if at all, ever since the Frenchman posed the question. I hope not to be troubling the diggers or stokers soon but it has made me think, in the early hours of jet-lag induced insomnia, about identity and sense of home and loyalties and indeed, whether it matters if there is an 'x' to mark the spot once one has shuffled off the mortal coil. It is one thing to cheer the French eleven (admittedly only when not against England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland) and quite another to lay down one's death for the adopted homeland. This then leads to another question I am often asked which is why I have never taken French nationality especially as I wouldn't have to give up British nationality to do so. All good questions none of which I can answer without mulling some more.
Strangely the longer I spend in London the more French I feel and the longer I'm in Paris, the more British. Since I'm all cross-Channel, perhaps the suggestion of a scattering somewhere mid-Manche from the Dover-to-Dieppe ferry is an idea, though from experience someone would spoil it by chucking more than ashes. If honest, I think I'd prefer a landmark; a huge, showy mausoleum with angels and cherubs on a well-beaten tourist path so everyone would go: "Who the hell was she?" before returning home to find out. Recognition at last. Père Lachaise would be perfect in between the naughty Victor Noir (all that brass rubbing might be fun) or Oscar Wilde or Molière. Then again, I am morbidly attracted to Highgate Cemetery even though as a south Londoner north of the Thames is bandit country. One of my closest friends and colleagues is buried in Highgate. He was one of the finest foreign reporters of his generation and as generous as he was talented. I wish with all my heart he wasn't there but he has a good spot. He'd have loved it when friends said: "Where's McGrory? Find Marx and turn left."
Why I love Belgium
2 days ago