As a young curate, I was fascinated by the war-time experiences of those whom I buried. True, eulogies in those days were sober and solemn affairs, next to what they have now become, but there was usually some form of brief summary of a life.

Sometimes, the patriarch whom we were commending to God had fought through two world wars. And the women too had shared the privations and the sacrifice, and occasionally had lost the love of their life in war.

And now? Praise God, ours is an easier age, but one cannot help feeling that it may be a lesser generation we commit to the ground or the flames.

Will the credit crunch, recession and depression change the style of eulogy one can expect at funerals? They have become longer, and more sentimental, and I don’t suppose either of these will change.

But that long list of holidays! Might we see an end to them? Of course people boast (or rather their children do on their behalf). But the long list of holidays as part of the definition of a life has been one of the most distasteful developments of recent years. ‘OK, so you were a rich retiree, but was that your life?’ If they were to vanish, praise the Lord indeed.

John Lucas