Will you have a cup of tea, father?

I was a big fan of Father Ted – and not just because Father Dougal and I share a surname. 

A bit further down the billing but no less important to the show’s success was MrsDoyle, housekeeper of Craggy Island Parochial House, played by the brilliant Pauline McLynn. Her catch phrase invariably comes to my mind when someone offers me a cup of tea, and it did again when I conducted Margaret’s funeral yesterday.

Margaret was a legend in the A&E department of the old Royal Infirmary where she worked night shifts for 21 years. She took no prisoners, but she was blind as a bat, which led to many a funny story of which this is a typical example.

A man checked in at the reception desk with an injury.  When Margaret asked his surname, he replied “Man!” When she asked for his first name, he replied “Super!” Margaret hadn’t noticed that this patient was dressed in the full Superman outfit! 

Margaret was incredibly well thought of by her former colleagues, who shared many happy memories of her with the family.  They described her as gentle, respectful, caring, and quirky” as well as a great laugh, a great support, and “a wee legend!”  

She was a real ‘tea Jenny’. Even when she was visiting her son, Stephen, in the 35 degree heat of Brisbane, she never left the house without a flask of her favourite beverage, so I thought it was a lovely, imaginative touch on the part of the family to give all the mourners a wee teabag to remember her by.

Orders of Ceremony are a good way to convey something of the character of the person you love. Last year, Avril’s family included the recipe for her legendary chocolate cake. Just a few months ago. Callum’s family did the same with his unbeatable recipe for tablet.

What will you do when it’s your turn? If you’ve got any good ideas, please let me know!

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