There are some things you need to know for this story to make sense, so I will begin with them.
Firstly, my dad likes to have everything planned out, is a little uncomfortable when things don’t go to plan but sorts it out, and he is exceptionally good at planning anything travel related. In his thirties, he was running a travel company to Norway and chartering several planes per week. The last two years have been difficult, because many planned trips to Kings Langley have had to be rearranged.
Secondly, I live in Kings Langley, which is 200 miles from York, where my parents live. I can’t travel to York, because it’s too far.
Thirdly, I have advanced Motor Neurone Disease. My mum has many health problems. She is 90. Dad is 89, fit, drives to Kings Langley and is mum’s full time carer.
Fourthly, the English Midlands have a reputation as being a bit of a central meeting point between London and the great northern cities. It’s true, the road network is good and there are many 4* Hilton Hotels with meeting space for 500 delegates. The cities, Birmingham, Wolverhampton Derby, Leicester, Nottingham have a reputation for being dull; no smoke without fire.
The title of my dad’s email was ‘Funerals’, an email which you would expect from a planning person, what with things being as they are in our family. We’ve all paid up, so that’s good. We being me, my mum and dad, for sake of clarity. The email raised practical things we need to consider. One of which is where to have the service for mum, should she go first, with family and friends living north and south. Some of northerners can’t travel to my area, and I can’t get to York. I did offer some practical solutions in my response to my dad, but this was not before my sense of the absurd had shown it’s face.
The funeral of my mum or I will take place at Donington Park Motorway Services off junction 23A on the M1, the motorway linking York and Kings Langley. Brilliant, half way.
Until the opening of Donington Services in 1999, Leicester Forest East, also on the M1, had always been deemed half way by the Knowlman family between York and the London area. We, that is both the York and Kings Langley families decided to give Donington a try, and its modern design had us hooked.
The idea of the M1 Donington Funeral Services was born, when I received my dad’s email about funerals.
What follows is from the website of M1 DFS.
Are you looking for a central location to have a cremation, and to celebrate the life of a loved one?
Do you need an airport, with flights to the Costas, within ten minutes drive?
Do you want everything under one roof, with convenient parking?
We have the lot.
Here are some of the other benefits of M1 Donington Funeral Services.
Your hearse parks in specially designated Black Badge parking, disabled friends and Blue Badge scammers in the adjacent bays.
The cremation takes place in the airport-style, Multi-faith parlour, located on the Ground Floor of the built-in Travellodge Hotel.
Afterwards, you can join the guests not being witness to the cremation in the well-lit open area. Exquisite flowers and small tokens of appreciation are available from M&S.
If you think little Sadiq or Jemima, or even you, will get bored during the speeches of appreciation, there are magazines to cater for every interest in WHSmith.
Fonemania sells portable chargers in case you are low on battery.
Most parties avail themselves of The Harvester for a full three course meal. The delicious menu is shown below, and your hosts pick up the tab.
Some customers prefer a more laissez-faire, alfresco approach, and so give their guests a ten quid voucher to spend at either The Home of the Whopper or Costa Coffee. Park-style benches and a kiddies play area mean that you can be outside, while you carry on that thirty year argument with cousin Steve, who pissed off to Torremolinos with the inheritance money.
Should you wish to slip into something more casual, then Cotton Traders sells rugby clothing with no style. For those staying the night, you may coincide with the Monsters of Rock festival at nearby Donington Motor Racing Circuit.
To round off the day, why not reminisce about your dearly missed, in the Snug Bar having a warm, cosy feeling, especially after a busy day.
Here is a selection of recent comments on TripAdvisor:
‘Very convenient, because M1 Donington is equidistant to half a mile between the two families’.
‘The food at Harvester is appalling, and the service is worse. It was handy to get a new charger, because I had forgotten the deceased’s husband’s name’.
‘Strange to be at a funeral, when people on the next table were discussing the Spurs attack’.
‘The slots were the main attraction for me. What with flowers, more flowers and petrol, I was going to be down at least a ton on the day. £20 up on the slots and I had £5 on Kane to score first. Another £30’.
So, book your next funeral at M1 Donington Funeral Services. Reservations taken up to five years in advance, with applicable earlybird discounts.