John Gibson: Losing the plot over burial costs

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Has Charlie Robertson lost the plot? A touch of flippancy when what I’m on about here is a grave issue.

Churchyards are playing to capacity. The Church of England is offering cheaper burials to those who choose cremation now that there is a national shortage down there of grave space.

Plans are afoot, to be rubber-stamped this week by the Church’s General Synod, to ensure that bereaved families wishing the ashes of a loved one interred in a churchyard pay less than half of what’s charged to those who prefer body burial.

What’s the cheerful Rev Charlie Robertson saying to all this, albeit from a distance? He has ben assistant minister these past six years at St Cuthbert’s as Edinburgh’s West End.

‘‘They do things differently down south. The Church of England is responsible for internment in churchyards. Your rent a grave for, say, ten years and that’s it. Boom!

‘‘It’s rare in Scotland where you’ll find a burial in one of our inner-city churchyards, for example the Canongate or Greyfriars kirks. I have to say, our system works well.’’

I wonder what the Rev Charlie himself has in mind for the final curtain. ‘‘I hope and I prefer to be buried.’’

Rula thumb

As a rule, Rula Lenska prefers to reside in London. She calls it her natural home. In fact the vivacious actress is has begun a season there in a stage version of Pygmalion, playing the mother of Henry Higgins. It’s not known whether this production will come out on the road. What is public knowledge is that Rula, of Polish descent and a youthful 66, does have an innate feeling for Edinburgh. Does the Lyceum, the King’s, the Playhouse beckon?