My sister had arranged for a birthday lunch for my mother before the terrible event of the death of Margaret Thatcher. Should we go ahead with the lunch?
Of course we should: it’s what Bridgehouses do, was the unanimous message coming back from members of my family. Members of the family phoned in to several of the radio stations operating for the sole audience of the family to back our message. It was clear my mother’s birthday lunch should go ahead despite something not necessarily connected having happened several days before.
The family newspaper raised safety concerns; if a former Prime Minister could die at a luxury London hotel could we guarantee a former PM would not die at a family lunch to celebrate the birthday of its matriarch? However, these questions were scoffed at: Bridgehouses don’t live in fear (they mainly live in Stalybridge).
Some of the family were being sponsored to attend the lunch in various fancy dress outfits – I myself had promised a group of sponsors that I would wear the psuedo military garb worn by the marquis, the guerilla army who opposed Franco’s regime during the dictator’s reign. Cancellation of the lunch would mean not only that I would have to return sponsorship monies but that the monies would not reach the intended benefactors, an independent fashion label who make subsidised clothing for the colourblind.
Cynical outsiders suggested the family were connecting the event unnecessarily. Why would be possibly be trying to encroach on the world’s sadness for ‘the copper dame’? Could we not just hold the birthday dinner as we might have done anyway, without publicising it as an act of defiance.
Disgraced Oscar host Seth MacFarlane mentioned the dinner on the chat show Late Night with Screech from Saved By The Bell, “what is it with these fucking Bridgehouse people? There is no suggestion that because a prime minister died in a hotel where some people were eating dinner that one will die while they are eating dinner. There has been no announcement that a prime minister would be targeting any family birthday dinners to die at…why do they have to make it about them? It’s in bad taste that they are using a real tragedy as some kind of fashion accessory.”
Meanwhile other members of our extended family announced that they would be attending to show solidarity, ‘because it’s what Bridgehouses do’. This was, thankfully, but paid to by my sister’s partner explaining there just weren’t the chairs for it. He did go on to promise that he would be checking the garden for ailing political leaders ahead of the meal, just to be sure.
In the end the meal passed uneventfully – save for the assault on our taste buds by an excellent sunday roast.
Many of those present dedicated their meal to the memory to the life of Lady Thatcher.