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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, October 24, 2005
    On Irene
    I think perhaps that when I blogged about young people on Saturday I may have had Irene at the back of my mind. Because underlying those thoughts about the depth and dignity of ordinary young people I suspect I may have been recalling my younger days, and the depth and dignity I was always afforded by my friend's mum. Irene. Whose good, long and loving life we remembered and celebrated today.

    This isn't about something staid and stodgy. This is about the simple pleasure - perhaps luxury - of always feeling welcomed by someone, of enjoying conversations with that person which often included enquiries about me and my well-being. Often funny conversations, often cheeky enquiries, and always affirming, always warming. Which was wonderful, from Irene. Because when you're young you don't often feel that older people take you very seriously. Irene always did, gently and warmly, as she continued to do all the way through, and did so with everyone, of all ages and sorts, not just me.

    That's pretty much what I scribbled in the book of remembrance which was doing the rounds of the tables at Waterloo Rugby Club this afternoon. I got home tonight to discover that Irene's thanksgiving service coincided with the publication of a new teen magazine called Brat, featuring cover star Vicky Pollard, a fictional grotesque whose presence on our screens belittles and further marginalises struggling teenagers and serves to permit witless adults to deride the young. I suspect that the teen 'market' will soon turn its back on Brat; and tonight I celebrate the generous and affirming spirit of Irene.