Dear Readers, today I went to Milborne St Andrew to tidy up Mum and Dad’s grave, and the weather was way more beautiful than I had any right to expect at the beginning of December. The mist was just clearing, and the view over the fields behind the graveyard was serene.
There’s a little crab apple tree behind the gravestone, and a cherry tree overhead, so there’s always something lovely to keep them company.
I’d brought a couple of winter hellebores and some cyclamen, but the rosemary and Achillea that I brought last time were still doing well, in spite of the flowering being finished. As usual, I tidied up a bit and then sat next to the grave for a while with my back against the tree. Fortunately I’d brought a ‘bag-for-life’ with me to sit on, as it was a bit on the damp side.
It is so peaceful. I am always sad when I’m here, but it’s tinged with gratitude that Mum and Dad are no longer in pain, and that they are in such a lovely spot. The church dates back to Norman times, so probably people have been being buried here for a thousand years or more, and there’s something about that long history that keeps me company and makes me aware of how universal my experience is.
As I sit, I hear the heavy drone of a bumblebee, who makes a ‘bee-line’ for the hellebore. Something else to be grateful for.
The blue tits and great tits are busy working the shrubs and trees for food, and the jackdaws clack away as they fly over.
The trees here have become as familiar as old friends. The Scots Pine looks particularly magnificent.
The avenue of yew trees frames the view of the fields.
And the beech trees are magnificent this year. I have never seen such colour.
But I can’t leave without saying hello to my favourite Cedar of Lebanon. It towers over the Rectory, which is a very impressive building, though no longer inhabited by the Rector who lives in a much more modest home.
And finally, here’s the stump of the lime tree that came down in the storms earlier this year, but which is clearly determined to survive and even thrive.
As I turn for home, I pass a blackbird looking for worms. Usually they fly off when I get too close, but this one just carried on regardless. I love the way that they just throw the leaves around.
I love Milborne St Andrew. It’s a working village rather than one that would feature on a calendar, or the top of a biscuit box, and it’s all the better for it. Mum and Dad had excellent medical care here, and good friends who would run out in the middle of the night if Mum fell out of bed, and who helped me sort out Mum and Dad’s bungalow when I needed to sell it to pay for Dad’s care. There are painful memories here, but they are outweighed by the happy ones. Coming here keeps me in touch with Mum and Dad and the place they loved. I always feel calmer when I leave, more integrated somehow. Mum and Dad were never ones for grave visiting, but it works for me.