MAZ SPEECH – 11th April 2022

Eulogy written and delivered by Julian Archer on the occasion of Marion's funeral, 11 April 2022, at Worcester Crematorium and afterwards at Pershore Football Club

Marion Talbot, née Girton, handsome, clever, and rich of heart with a comfortable cottage and happy disposition united some of the best blessings of existence. She was the youngest of two daughters of most affectionate parents, Harry and Nellie …….wait a minute….I do hope you know from which book this passage is taken – and read it, if not daily, then at least “Knightly”…., oh Jane I am so sorry…. I have no idea what they’re teaching people at school these days. Sound familiar?

Marion was a sister to Rona, an aunt to Ruth, Michael, Phil and I, a Great Aunt, a Great Aunt squared and a friend to so many more and she was my Godmother. Boy was she a Great Aunt.

While this is a very sad time, it is also strangely a very uplifting time as we reflect and think of Maz and do so with such warmth, love, and affection. We can remember her life and how she has played such a major role in either our upbringing or just simply the provider of an unparalleled contribution to the enjoyment of our family lives.

As we know, Maz was an independent woman, never fearing to speak her mind. She actually had no choice but to be that way. Her sister, our mum, her senior by 6 years, on one occasion, when they were both young, just came home from town alone, leaving Maz all on her own. Much to the despair of their worried mother. The town was of course not the size of Eckington, but London. As Maz would often tell us down the years…”you gotta learn fast kid”.

Well, learn Marion did, both academically and of life’s many experiences. Coming from the East End, Maz was evacuated initially in 1939 to Brentwood and later from 1941 to 1943 to Truro where she stayed with Isobel and Anthony Davidson and their sons Robin and Anthony. When the flying bombs began to fall in 1944, Maz was welcomed back to Truro with open arms. After the war, Maz went to the University of Exeter to study German and became a German teacher in Bolton, with a stint of living in Braunschweig along the way. Later, her linguistic skills helped Cam close deals for Orbit Controls with partners in Switzerland, impress waiters “das Essen war ausgezeichnet” and motivate future generations to learn der Deutsche Sprache. Ich bedanke mich Tante.

Maz loved meeting new people, travelling to new places to experience good wine, food and stimulating company. Above all Maz loved enjoying life and helping us all have fun.

Fun of course often revolved around parties and family gatherings of which there are simply too many to mention. The February birthday parties held in Forest Gate at No. 21 during which “turns” were required are memorable. Maz never let us down – together with Cam dressing up in hessian sacks with Surf washing powder boxes attached singing "We're a couple of Surfs" and together with my mum singing Sisters from White Christmas are just a couple of star turns among many. Throughout all the fun the seam of love ran deep and affected us all. Of Maz and Rona there were never such devoted sisters, caring….sharing and in all kinds of weather they stuck together. And when our Mum and Dad were reaching the end of their lives Marion’s love continued as she provided such welcome moral support to the Archer children.

In earlier days Maz’s travel destinations varied throughout continental Europe with Roy and Rona and the US with good friends, Bob and Donna.

But for my siblings the extended summer holidays spent with Maz and Cam in Pembrokeshire were the travels we will remember the most. It’s also where we first met Jay and Liz. Walking the coast path and playing about in boats. Cam and Maz were always the cool adults. Fun to be with, young at heart, exciting stories to relate and always generous with their time. Long before we had heard of modern sitcoms we learnt on these holidays so much about Maz’s boss, “Little Man” and The Office. And talking of boats, Phil will tell you of the time Maz sat stoically and majestically in the small inflatable rubber dinghy named Wol…..yes from Winnie the Pooh. Cam was defeated by the oncoming waves and surf, and Wol was being gradually swamped. Cam frantically removed items from the boat and eventually declared “Don’t worry love I’ve got all the important stuff out of the boat”…..which left Marion a little non-plussed as she was, of course, still in it.

Marion was sharp – sharp looking, sharp of mind, sharp of wit and yes, sharp of tongue. Sorry Maz, we’re not going to let you dodge this one. We can all look back individually to the numerous times that we have been scolded or better said, torn off a strip…. for not making our bed, coming into the pub when underage, taking too long to go to the shops and back…. I could go on…..and so I will….for not having read Cold Comfort Farm or any number of other books that Maz deemed was necessary for a proper upbringing. Or for having the temerity (temeritas) to not have attended a school where Latin was mandatory (amet). Yes…over the years we have all been firmly put in our place but we wear it as a badge of honour……. Because she was right, and we all love her for it. We learnt so much; the derivation of the word non-sequitur; to say compared with and not compared to and to say If I were to and not If I was to. We can truly say that the “education bestowed on family members by Marion Talbot has been expensive, athletic, and prolonged”. Discipline and rigour have helped us all and a Gold Star goes to Marion.

Maz was sharp witted to the end. In the last email she ever sent me, just days before she passed Maz was wishing Ingrid, Thomas, Elliot and myself well. As she struggled with writing on her iPad she ended with a typical Marion like admonishment with the words…. “Better end there - predictive text is making ridiculous choices!” We can all just picture her saying it out loud. I was just so happy that it wasn’t me she was shouting at!

Maz, we have all loved being a part of your life and having a small role in your manuscript. Ihr Buch ist jetzt geschrieben. Your book has now been written.