At Crewkerne Station

Dear Readers, Aunt H’s memorial service went very well on Sunday – the church was packed, and the tributes felt as if they gave a real picture of a whole human being, with all their faults and virtues. Sometimes on these occasions it feels as if the person honoured was a saint, but this one recognised that Aunt H was definitely not a saint, and yet was respected and loved, and very much missed, and I think that’s a much better way to be remembered. Although she died in February 2021 she was still very much alive in everyone’s memory, and there was a lot of fond laughter, and plenty of tears.

And on Monday, we caught the train back to London from Crewkerne station for what could be the last time. Now that Aunt H and her sister Aunt M are gone, there’s no reason for us to come back to this part of Somerset. I’ve been coming for twenty years but my husband has been coming since he was a teenager, so it’s even more of the end of an era for him. But, as with my ongoing relationship with Dorset even though my parents have died, it’s up to us whether we want to keep coming back. Only time will tell.

The station itself, though, is a rather fine Grade II  listed building made of the local yellow stone. It dates back to 1860, and was probably pretty busy back in the day. However, it now has one train per hour going in each direction (when there aren’t train strikes and cancellations). This has to be carefully timed as there is only one line, which can make for some epic delays on a bad day. Today, however, was a good day.

Photo One by By Geof Sheppard - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8921876

Crewkerne Station – Main Building (Photo One)

I have long been fascinated by the way that ‘weeds’ are so very local. At Crewkerne, for example, there is a row of evening primrose, interspersed with mullein and ragwort.

A fine row of evening primroses – the flowers always remind me of tannoys.

Lots of Oxford Ragwort…

…and a very stately mullein alongside some Herb Robert and some groundsel.

Now, normally when we were at Crewkerne Station the small but sprightly figure of Aunt H would either be meeting us at the gate, or dropping us off. Now that she’s gone, I suddenly realised that I’d never gone beyond the traffic bridge over the line.

Filled with a sense of adventure (and 40 minutes to wait until the train arrived) I headed down the platform.

First up was this railway building, all shuttered now. I wonder if it used to be a workshop? It certainly has a very high entrance way, big enough to pop in a steam train I imagine (though maybe not wide enough).

And then, on the other side of the bridge, there was a quiet bank of wild and cultivated flowers. None of the trains are longer than six carriages these days, so no one ever comes here. There was creeping thistle and ox-eye daisies, billowing grasses and yarrow.

There is lords and ladies, just setting its berries…

And day-lilies and yellow loosestrife….

..and a whole tribe of noisy sparrows.

Someone had planted some yellow achillea back in the day…

…but some rosebay willowherb had planted itself.

It was magical, this little wind-blown spot beyond the bridge. It made me wonder how much else there is to be discovered just around the corner. If we take a different route, what might we find? Overhead, the jackdaws chinked which for me is the sound of the West Country. I realised how tense I had been after all the preparations for the Memorial Service, and I could feel my poor brain wondering what I could find to be worried about next. But for now, I could just breathe, and be happy that things had gone well, and that there were still strange and wild spots everywhere, if I had the eyes to see them, and the gumption to diverge from my usual route.

Doves on Crewkerne Station

Photo One By Geof Sheppard – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8921876

3 thoughts on “At Crewkerne Station

  1. Liz Norbury

    It’s good to hear that Aunt H’s memorial service went well. I know how strange it feels to be travelling away from a long-familiar place, not knowing if you’ll return. We used to make regular visits to my husband’s parents in Andover, but we haven’t been back there since their deaths. Crewkerne was one of the stations on our route. Next time I have to wait for a while at a country station, I’ll do as you did, and take a look around to see what I can find.

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  2. Ann Bronkhorst

    Ragwort and evening primrose were constants on my regular summer holidays in the west country, in childhood. My cousins and I constructed demanding (but harmless) obstacle courses for the athletic and handsome cinnabar moth caterpillars that fed on ragwort.

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