Jinnie’s Story- Book Six, Chapter Twenty-Nine

A triple funeral is organised

WorthingGooner, Going Postal

As Izzy drove away, Jinnie hurried into the Green Acres reception and was delighted to find someone she knew, Adrienne, on the desk. Adrienne had been on the staff from when Jinnie had worked on the retirement homes staff and was a retired hospital ward sister. Adrienne said, “I’m so glad you’re here, both Fred and Jimmy asked if you were coming. Matron assured them you were on the way, that you were not at home but in London.” Jinnie replied, “Actually I was at Buckingham Palace this afternoon and I was just on my way home when I got the phone call.” “Dr Carter has moved the boys to the infirmary, I think that’s new since you worked here, so I’ll take you. If you would like to follow me,” said Adrienne.

Adrienne tapped on the infirmary door, and it was quickly answered by a nurse, who invited Jinnie in as soon as Adrienne explained who she was. The infirmary had four beds of which only two were occupied. Jimmy and Fred were in beds pushed close to each other and both had drips up. Dr Carter was fussing round them. Jinny heard Jimmy say, “Is that Jinnie?” and she called back, “Yes Jimmy, I’m here, I’m sorry I took so long, I was in London having tea with the Queen and the traffic was awful.” “But you came,” said Fred, “You are the only one who cares about us and not our money. Our only other visitors are the bank manager, the solicitor and the financial advisor and I always row with him.” Jimmy then said, “Come and sit between us so we can talk without being overhead.”

Jinnie pulled up a chair and sat so she could hold a hand on either side. Jimmy said, “I’m sorry you didn’t see Bert before he died, he made us promise not to call you. He didn’t want to bother you.” “Oh, the silly old thing,” replied Jinnie, “I would have dropped everything and come.” “That’s just what we told him,” said Fred, “But he wouldn’t have it.”

“Now please listen to us carefully, we have something to tell you while we still have the strength,” said Jimmy. “When Ethel died, the three of us got together and re-wrote our wills. We left everything to each other, so we have just jointly inherited Bert’s estate. The idea was the last person alive would land up with everything. Then Bert said, ‘But what about when the last of us dies? I don’t want any of my money going to the state.’ So, we decided that we would all add a clause that said if we were the last to die all the estate would go 80% to you and 20% to your beautiful twins. But the twins’ share would be in trust until they reach 18, just like Ethel did with your sister. So, we got our solicitors to draw up the wills and the solicitor suggested that we allow the twins to access some of the money for ‘education’ so that is what we did. You can decide if you want them to be able to spend money before they are 18.”

With that Jimmy sighed and lay back exhausted. Jinnie said, “But I don’t want your money, I am already well off and make a good living from my two main companies. The twins lack for nothing and we could live on Paolo’s salary on its own and still be comfortable. Don’t you guys have any relatives you want to leave your money to?” “No,” said Fred, “We are both the last survivors in our families. Our wives died long before we met you and neither of us had children. And in any case, it’s not just money, we both have other things in our estates. Don’t forget Bert and Jimmy had very good jobs that paid them very well and I owned a transport company that didn’t just pay me a handsome wage, but I was able to sell for a fortune. We all have all sorts of antiques and investments.”

Fred and Jimmy lay back and both closed their eyes. Jimmy whispered, “I’m exhausted, I need to rest a little, why don’t you just tell us about how your business are doing, your cruise and why you were at the Palace? Tell me is the Queen as lovely as she appears on the TV?” Jinnie talked and talked until she sensed they had both fallen asleep. Then she got up and walked over to Dr Carter and asked, “Can you tell me what’s wrong with my friends Dr?” He said, “Well basically they have decided they have lived long enough. When Bert died, they both stopped eating and drinking. I have them on intravenous fluids, but basically their organs are shutting down. I get the impression they have only been waiting for you to come before giving up completely. I think now they are sleeping they will probably drift away.”

“Do you mind if I stay until the end? Asked Jinnie, “I hate to think of them dying without someone who loved them being here.” “Of course, you can stay,” replied the doctor. “I was just about to call for a coffee and a sandwich, will you join me?” When the food arrived, it was what Jinnie would normally describe as ‘ordinary’. It wasn’t bad but could have been a whole lot better with a tiny bit of effort. The coffee was OK, but could have been so much better with a different blend of coffee. Jinnie was presented with two rounds of sandwiches, egg mayonnaise and tomato, and ham and tomatoes. The mayonnaise was clearly from a jar and Jinnie would have preferred just to have had the egg mashed up without the mayo. The ham in the sandwich was actually quite nice and had been thickly sliced, but Jinnie couldn’t understand why it had also come with tomato she would have preferred mustard or even cucumber. At least the bread was crusty and had been sliced from a real loaf.

Jinnie chatted to Dr Carter for a while before the nurse called him over to Jimmy whose breathing had become very shallow. The Dr called Jinnie over and said, “I’m afraid we are losing him, there is nothing I can do. I don’t think he is in any pain; he just won’t wake up.” Jinnie took his hand and sat with him until the Dr said, “I’m afraid he’s gone.” Jinnie could feel the tears running down her face and headed to the ladies for a good cry. When she returned Fred was still sleeping and Jinnie sat by his side and held his hand. After half an hour Fred stirred and squeezed her hand. He turned his head and looked across at Jimmy’s bed where the nurse had pulled the sheet over his head. “Has Jimmy gone?” he said through his cracked lips. “Yes,” replied Jinnie, “I’m so sorry.” Fred whispered, “I will not last much longer. Please remember you are very wealthy now, look after your beautiful twins.”

Fred slid off back to sleep, leaving Jinnie pondering on Fred’s words. She was already a very wealthy woman and of course she would do anything for the twins. Dr Carter gave Fred a quick check and said, “I am amazed he has lasted so long. I thought he would go before Jimmy. I still don’t think he will last the night.”

About 12:30 Jinnie detected a change in Fred’s breathing and called over the doctor. After listening to his chest and checking Fred’s pulse and blood pressure he said, “He’s not going to last long now a suggest you say your goodbyes now.” Jinnie kissed him on the forehead and whispered, “Farewell my friend, give my love to Bert, Fred and dear old Ethel, we were a good team.”

The Potters Bar taxi Jinnie had called was stopped by an armed policeman at the end of her road. The officer shone a torch into the car, illuminating Jinnie, who he immediately recognised and said, “Good evening Dame Jinnie, please carry on. As they passed the officer the taxi driver said, “That surprised me, is the security for you?” Jinnie answered, “No, I guess you have never been here before, Sir Nigel Farage lives down the road so the security is a bit tight.” As she quietly slid out of the taxi Jinnie saw all the lights were out, so she opened the front door as quietly as possible. The first thing Jinnie saw was the taillights of the taxi reflected in Larry’s eyes. She dropped to her knees and as he rubbed himself around her, she whispered, “Have you been waiting for me to come home?” Larry meowed loudly. And Jinnie whispered, “Hush Larry, we don’t want to wake everyone up.” Without putting the light on, Jinnie slipped her shoes off and crept upstairs by the light from the upstairs landing night light. She slipped into her bedroom, grabbed her pyjamas and closed the ensuite door before putting the light on. As she undressed, she caught a view of herself in the mirror and thought ‘I look a mess,’ seeing her red eyes and smudged makeup.


When Jinnie woke the first thing she was aware of was the voices of the twins. Looking at the clock she thought ‘Why aren’t they at school’ and then remembered it was Saturday and she had been a bit late home last night. Suddenly her mind was full of last night’s events, and she fought back fresh tears and decided to get up and lose herself by being busy. Then she realised she was hungry; she had missed dinner last night and had only had a couple of sandwiches.

Entering the kitchen, the twins came running over to her and Millie said, “Izzy said you were very late last night, and we had to be very quiet.” Jinnie said, “I went to see some friends who were very ill and stayed a lot longer than I expected.” Larry was curled up in his cat basket in the corner and Jinnie was certain he winked at her. Izzy said, “Good Morning Jinnie, can I get you some breakfast?” “Yes please,” answered Jinnie, “I’m rather hungry, could I have two fried eggs, bacon, fried bread and a grilled tomato? I’ll have a bowl of cereal while it is cooking, and the coffee is brewing.” Izzy said, “There’s some black pudding in the fridge if you want a slice.” “Oh, yes please,” replied Jinnie, “I got a taste for it on the cruise.” “I put the coffee on when we heard you moving so it should be nearly ready.” “Where’s Daddy?” Jinnie asked the twins. “He went with Uncle Nigel to buy wine,” answered Willie.

After breakfast, Jinnie decided to pay a quick visit to the garden office to check her emails and set off accompanied by Larry who shot in through the cat flap while Jinnie was unlocking the doors. Still trying to not think about the death of her friends, but failing miserably, Jinnie turned on her DKL computer and checked the emails. Being Saturday there was a lot less than a weekday and she was nearly through them when her mobile rang. Jinnie answered the phone automatically without looking at the screen and simply said, “Hello.” “Hello Jinnie, it’s Matron Thorpe over at Green Acres. I just wanted to say thank you for coming last night. I’m only sorry I was not there. It was my scheduled day off and I was up in Lichfield visiting an old friend with a broken leg. It was too late when I got back, and you had gone home.”

Matron continued, “Dr Carter tells me you stayed until the end, and they were delighted you came. I’m going to have a busy few days sorting out the paperwork. I don’t know if you are aware, but they left detailed instructions for their funerals in their wills. They all gave me a copy of the page with the instructions on and details of their solicitors. They all used the same one which is useful, I only have one to deal with on Monday.” “I think you will find they have planned and coordinated everything,” said Jinnie. “They virtually told me so last night. When Bert died, they decided they had lived long enough. Dr Carter said they were only waiting to see me before dying.” “He said the same to me,” said Matron.

“They want a triple funeral in the same church as your friend Ethel. I must speak to the minister, but you will come won’t you.” “Of course,” said Jinnie, “Just tell me when you have everything settled, I understand it can sometimes take a while to get a death certificate.” “I’m afraid that in the retirement home death is all too common and I’m used to jumping through legal hoops. At least the doctor was present when they died, and I have his form. He says, “Old age and exhaustion,” so I don’t see any problems with the authorities. But I always worry when life insurance is involved.”

“You mean they had insurance; at their age I wouldn’t have thought it was possible,” said Jinnie. “I don’t think it was a recent thing,” said Matron Thorpe, “I think it was something they took out many years ago when they were still working, and we were under German control. Do you remember how PM Farage put legislation through parliament nationalising all the German policies and putting a fund in place to pay for them out of the funds seized from German banks and insurance companies? It also paid pensions for people who had paid into German company pensions.” “Now you speak about it I remember, the last I read in the FT was that so many had died before the fund properly established it was in huge surplus and it was paying out massive amounts.” “I hope you are right,” said Matron, “It would be nice to think that they got something back from fighting the occupiers. Oh, and while I think about it they have left money to transport everyone from the home to the church and for a wake after the service. Do you think Trattoria Trevi would be interested in doing the catering for the wake?” “I think I can guarantee they will do it,” said Jinnie.

As soon as the matron rang off Jinnie decided she had to talk to Alberto about catering the wake she had to talk to Bill Furr, she hadn’t got the word back from the Queen about the article yet but it now needed updating. She was trying to decide who to speak to first when Paolo and Nigel arrived. They both sat down on visitor chairs and Larry instantly jumped into Nigel’s lap. After talking about her friends for a minute or two Jinnie told them about the planned triple funeral and the wake. Nigel immediately said, “I want to be there, bugger the security people, I’m going. We will just not announce it in advance.” Paolo added, “And of course I will be there with you. We would never have met if not for them.”

Jinnie said to Nigel, “I have a small problem, I need to tell Bill Furr to get the story he has written updated. But we still haven’t got the Queen’s OK on the old story. Would it be possible for you have a word?” “Of course,” said Nigel and pulled out his mobile and hit a number in his contacts list. Jinnie heard it ring several times before it was answered and Nigel said, “Hi Kate it’s Nige, I have a favour to ask of you. You remember that article on the three Resistance people you so kindly visited and are reviewing.” He listened for a moment and said, “Thank you for the go-ahead but I’m afraid I have to tell you we are going not have to amend it.” Again, he listened for a moment and said, “No, it’s nothing to do with what was written. I’m sorry to have to tell you that all three have died in the last few days. Jinnie got a phone call on her way home from having tea with you yesterday and was with the last two when they died late last night.”

Once again, he listened while she spoke before saying, “Yes, I am with her now and I’ll tell her. I have already told her I will be at the funeral, but we don’t have a date and time yet only a location, King Charles the Martyr in Potters Bar. It has a special importance for them. OK, I’ll tell her. Speak to you soon, love to the kids.” With that he broke off the call and smiling said, “She loved the article and intended to give you the go-ahead yesterday but forgot. She said if you need to bring the story up to date just do it. It won’t change the part that reflects on her and the children, so you don’t need to go back to her, she trusts you.”

Nigel continued, “She asked me to pass on her condolences, she obviously knows all about them and your Resistance and Secret Intelligence Service work. Finally, she wants me to keep her updated with the funeral details and says if it is at all possible, she would like to come to the funeral and will do her best to bring the King and the older children. I suppose I better tell Richard, it’s clearly going to get political if we are not careful. I suggest you talk to the matron, and it is restricted to friends and family only.” Jinnie replied, “The sad thing is, there is no family.”

Bill Furr was out walking his dog on the Brook Farm Open Space when Jinnie rang. He listened as Jinnie firstly told him the Queen had OK’d the story, but that it needed a rewrite to reflect the deaths of the three old Resistance fighters. Jinnie explained that it was too early for there to be any details of the funeral other than the fact that the oldies wanted it to be at Charles the Martyr. Bill said, “You realise that this is a massive development. I can see the headline ‘Queen pays visit to Resistance heroes before they die.’ As soon as I can get Bella out of Dollis Brook, back on the lead and home, I’ll rewrite the piece and be round with it this afternoon if those damn security men will let me into your street.” “If you tell them you are visiting me, they will ring me and I’ll tell them you’re OK and I’m expecting you,” said Jinnie.


On Monday the Potters Bar Press, all the other papers in the group and the website broke the story of the death of the old Resistance members and how two had given up the will to live when one the triumvirs of their triumvirate died. Bill Furr was right, the headline implied the Queen had visited not long before their death. Bill had even mentioned that their great friend, the restauranteur Dame Jinnie de Luca, had been with them at the end. Bill leaked the story to the Daily Mail by mentioning to one of his colleagues on the staff that if he were to look at the Potters Bar Press website at ten o’clock on Sunday evening a story would be going up that he should read.

At 10:05 pm, Kevin Malarkey, the editor of the Potters Bar Press, was at the bar of the Cricketers ordering another pint of Guinness when his mobile rang. He had been expecting a call, but it was a good 10 minutes earlier than he expected. The editor of the Mail was, as expected, asking the price of a licence to use their copyrighted story. The £50,000 agreed was rapidly transferred into the Press account and the article was released to them with the words ‘Copyright of The Potters Bar Press Group’ and under Bill Furr’s by-line. The Mail’s presses were quickly stopped, and a second edition hit the streets shortly before eleven.

The paper reviews on the news channels all got PDFs of fresh front pages a couple of minutes before eleven o’clock news, causing a huge scramble in the newsroom. Talk TV reacted fastest, and the story actually made the eleven o’clock news. With the news reader saying, “The Daily Mail is tonight breaking a story from the Potters Bar Press that a short time ago the Queen paid a secret visit to three of our oldest Resistance fighters just before they died last week. The Mail has the full story spread over several pages.”

Kevin had ensured that all the pictures on the Press website had their watermark and like the story they were in an uncopiable format and if someone wanted the story they would have to rewrite it and miss tonight’s print deadline or pay for a usable copy. He had already upped the asking price to £70,000 to the Mirror whose politics he disliked and so far the only paper that had outright refused to pay a license fee was the FT and it wasn’t a story they were likely to run with anyway.

On Monday morning all the radio and TV stations were still running with the story and Jinnie had been approached to appear on several shows both on radio and TV and had so far turned them all down. She was just considering turning her mobile off when it rang with a local number she didn’t recognise. It was the matron; she was calling to say that the undertaker had organised the funeral for 10:30 a week on Tuesday at King Charles the Martyr with internment to follow a Trent Park Cemetery in plots next to Ethel Jennings. Jinnie replied that now she had a date she would talk to Alberto at Trattoria Trevi, and she would message her with the details. But if it was a hot and cold buffet at 13:30 how would that suit? Perfectly was the answer.

Jinnie then explained that the Mr Farage ex-PM would like to come as he had met them on several occasions. She then explained that Nigel had mentioned it to the Queen who indicated that she and the King and the two eldest children would also like to attend, provided it did not clash with anything that could not be cancelled. “Golly,” replied Matron Thorpe, “Really? Will they be coming to the buffet?” Jinnie answered, “Nothing is certain yet, I’ll let you know very soon but please keep this secret. Don’t tell anyone, not even your deputy. Now, one final thing for the moment. Nigel has had to tell the PM as it involves the head of state, but we don’t want the funeral turning into a political bun fight. Please can you make it friends only, by invitation, and if you tell me how many invites you intend to issue, I can get them printed on the same day by the people we use to do all our printing.”

Jinnie then called Alberto who said, “Hi Jinnie, I have just been reading about you in the Barnet Press. Please accept my condolences, I only met your friends in passing, but I know you were very close. Just let me know if there is anything I can do.” “As it happens there is,” said Jinnie and explained about the buffet. “Leave it to me,” said Alberto, “I’ll ring the matron at Green Acres just as soon as we finish chatting and organise everything directly with her.” “One other thing,” said Jinnie, “There are likely to be some VIP guests and heavy security, so please only talk about the buffet on a need-to-know basis.”

“I understand,” replied Alberto, “Now on to other matters, your idea of a table d’hôte restaurant. Giuseppe and I have been looking into the idea hard and we think with a few tweaks it’s a goer. We have come up with four costed menus we can rotate and so we could cost everything properly we have found a wine bar for sale in North Finchley which would suit the sybaritic perfectly. We have fed all the revised data into your spreadsheet and Belinda has given us a cost to remodel the wine bar into a 70-cover restaurant and it makes a profit in the first year. Not a very big one, but a profit is far better than a loss. The second-year figures are excellent. So, I am more than happy we recommend the project to the board.”

“Really?” said Jinnie. “Yes really,” said Alberto, “I think we could be seeing the start of a new chain, and your spreadsheet has proved a marvellously easy tool to use. I think we can adapt it for new Trattoria Trevis, Sandwich Shops or even Aunty JoJo’s it is so flexible. It should give us a good idea of how practical any new project is.” “I’m so pleased said Jinnie, “I put a lot of effort into that spreadsheet.”

Izzy tapped on the door of the Garden Office and Jinnie beckoned her in. “This letter has just been put through the door,” said Izzy, “Strange there is no address on it and the postman has already been earlier.” Jinnie took the envelope and on it read ‘Dame Jinnie de Luca’ on the front in a hand she half recognised.” Her heart jumped and she remembered receiving a similar letter when Ethel died. She slit the envelope open with the letter opener the twins had given her at Christmas and extracted the letter seeing it was from Mann, Coombes and Co., Solicitors. It was very short, asking Jinnie to make an appointment with Mr Mann as soon as possible as he had some very important news for her. Jinnie had a sense of Deja vu, sitting in the solicitor’s meeting room opposite Mr Mann and she felt close to tears. “Are you OK?” asked Izzy, “I hope it’s not more bad news.” “Quite the opposite,” replied Jinnie, “I was just reliving events, from years ago. I think I might be in for an inheritance.” Jinnie phoned the solicitors, and Mr Mann’s secretary made her an appointment for a week on Wednesday saying that Mr Mann’s diary was full for tomorrow and then he was skiing for a week.

Izzy said she would make them coffee, and they could chat. Jinnie’s head was spinning, there was so much going on. She decided she needed to make a list and prioritise it. Jinnie sat back and savoured the Jamaica Blue Mountain and wondered what else could possibly happen. Izzy said, “Here comes Mr. Farage, he must have smelled the coffee!” “Good,” said Jinnie, “I need to talk to him. Stay and enjoy your coffee, I can trust you not to talk about what you hear.”

Nigel accepted a coffee and Larry sat in his lap being fed little bits of Hobnob, the only biscuit he really liked. Jinnie told him about the date and time for the funeral, internment and buffet, and that Alberto was organising it. “Good,” said Nigel, “It is guaranteed to be good food. The only thing now is to hope the weather gods are kind.” Nigel said, “Hang on and I’ll phone Kate.” With that he pulled out his phone and hit the number and soon an astounded Izzy heard him say, “Hi Kate, it’s Nige. Just a quick update on the funeral. It’s Tuesday week at 10:30 at the church we discussed. The burial is to follow at Trent Park Cemetery and then a hot and cold buffet back at the retirement home at 13:30 and the food is being prepared by Trattoria Trevi.”

Nigel listened and occasionally interjected a “yes” or a “no” until he said, “OK I’ll tell her. Speak to you soon.” Nigel said, “Kate says she and Wills will definitely be there for the service and the buffet. But the interment will have to be passed by the security services as Trent Park is very open and as it is a weekday the kids will be at school. They must be away by 15:00 because they have dinner with the Jamaican ambassador in Windsor.” Izzy asked, “Were you really talking to the Queen?” “Of course,” said Nigel. “But you called her Kate,” said Izzy. “Why not?” said Nigel, “She is and old friend who calls me Nige.”

In Chapter 30 – The Funeral

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