It all started when we went out for dinner with a lovely friend who is a lawyer.
"You have got a will, haven't you?" she said.
"Well, now that you're living together, if you get run over by a bus then your boyfriend will have to move out."
Let's pause for a moment to consider this mythical Bus Of Vengeance. The Bus Of Vengeance seeks out and destroys those with unpaid bills, unmade apologies and unfinished business. In reality, buses only seem to run people over when their drivers are texting or confused by roadworks. You're more likely to be struck down by a lorry - those things are so lethal that even thinking about bicycle-clips increases your chances of being flattened by an HGV by 3000 per cent.
Anyway, it turns out that if a bendy bus should explode near me and I don't have a will, my boyfriend will have about 24 hours' notice to move out, pausing only to collect his cardigans, check the cupboard for any remaining crisps, and say goodbye to the cat. So, my learned counsel argued, I needed to get a will. This seemed a bit drastic.
"Well," my lawyer friend said, "You don't have to have a will. You could just get married."
My boyfriend and I looked at each other.
So, I've got a will now. As a process it's like painless dentistry with sad bits. Here are the things I've learned:
Money is great
Put all together those pensions and that weird life-insurance policy that came with that mortgage all mount up to quite a nice lump sum. If I died tomorrow, I'd never need to work again.
Your friends don't want your stuff
To you it may be a wonderful archive. But start bandying around bequests and you discover that your treasured possessions are mostly crap which would disgrace a jumble sale.
Don't try and leave anyone Lego
The solicitor drawing up my will is a marvellous woman. But even her reservoirs of tact ran out when she reached the Lego. I'd tried to leave it to a named friend. The problem is, it would have to be valued. Which means it would all have to be assembled. And catalogued. And put together in the same room. The last time I tried doing this I got halfway through laying out the train track and very nearly ended up single. I hadn't even touched the monorail or the airport.
A cat is a chattel
They may lord it over you in life, but after death, you can literally dispose of them how you see fit. My will adviser said she once had to execute an old lady's clause that her cats were put to sleep. Luckily they'd predeceased her, but it was still a horrid thing to ask.
Getting rid of the body
This was the stumper. It turned up as a surprise clause - you have to leave instructions as to where and how. Cue awkward email conversation with boyfriend. We've really only just about decided which side of the bed to sleep on and I'm asking him how he'd like to dispose of my corpse. Suggestion #1 was to leave it in the yellow-stickered aisle at Tesco "as that's where you're happiest". Suggestion #2 involved scattering it near a Loch. This is quite romantic, but isn't without its hazards. After all, my boyfriend is quite forgetful. He'll take the wrong tin to Scotland and end up sat on a rock, eating biscuits and sighing. My friend Lee came up with Suggestion #3 which involved a glitter cannon and a gay sauna.
You're going to die
The weird one. I've only just got used to being alive. I'm not sure what I'll do when I'm dead. But I do know one thing - I will be rich.
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Turns out, I hated this film. Alan Bennett summed up Witchfinder General by calling it "degrading" and "morally rotten".
It may well operate on a level that I missed, but it's essentially about Vincent Price burning women. They're toasted, torched, griddled, branded, poached and fried.
When we got to the end of it, I reiterated how much I hated it. My boyfriend (whose favourite film it is) stared at me blankly. "But, it's just like Twins of Evil. You liked that."
"Yes," I replied. "But that had vampires in it."
His eyes narrowed. He may have sneered. "Is a film only any good if it has vampires in it?"
"Well, yes." Vampires are a bit like salt. They'll ginger up anything. The only thing that could possibly, in any way, have improved The West Wing is if they'd replaced the Jewish Mafia stuff with vampires.