A Blustery Day in Milborne St Andrew

So, Dear Readers, today saw me boarding the X12 bus in Dorchester to go to Milborne St Andrew and to visit St Andrew’s Church, where Mum and Dad’s ashes were buried. It’s usually so peaceful there, but today there was the sound of many lambs. Mum would have loved it.

Whenever I visit I remove the plants which are clearly dead, shift the ones that are still alive around, and pop in the new ones that I’ve bought. Then I try to cut back the plants that are growing over the memorial stone, but this time I forgot my garden scissors, so it isn’t as neat as I’d like. This time, I bought some pinks, some violas, some aubretia and a lupin, and kept the hellebores and the achillea from my last visit, even though they were looking a bit tired. The stone itself is looking very discoloured, but I’m not sure what to do – I don’t want to use bleach or anything else that will interfere with the plants and soil-life. Maybe a scrubbing brush and some soap will do the trick, what do you think?


I love the way that the primroses and lesser celandine have naturalised all over the churchyard. It’s magical. I always plonk down under the cherry tree next to the grave and just wait for the tears to come, and then for the peace to wash over me, which it always does. I feel as if a weight has been lifted from my chest.

And look how the wind is shaking the yew trees, and how the birds are singing above the sound of the breeze.

And then I head off for a cup of coffee (and some cake) with my friend E, who will be 90 this year, and who always tells me all the village gossip. It seems that the new curate is settling in, and E herself has mostly recovered from a fall that she had in her precipitous garden, which would daunt a mountain goat. But on the way, I notice something.

That looks rather like a nest, don’t you think? I pause to see what will happen.

Here is a jackdaw with a twig in his or her mouth.

S/he notices me and flies up onto the roof. That’s a very fine twig!

I decide to back off and see what s/he does…and what it seems to involve is sticking some twigs in, and then taking another one away.

Making a nest is clearly not a straightforward matter – all the twigs look the same to me, but I suspect that the bird inside the building is rather more particular than the one outside about what makes a good place to lay eggs and rear youngsters. How nice it is to see that the jackdaws have found somewhere to nest, even though so many buildings are no longer suitable, and so many chimneys are blocked up.

And then it’s back on the bus, and back to Dorchester, and tomorrow it’s back to London. But how I love these short visits to Milborne St Andrew. The time I spend with Mum and Dad seems to recharge my batteries faster than anything else that I do. It’s as if there’s a thinning of the veil between worlds here, and as if the love that we felt for one another is able to radiate through like a kind of heat, maybe especially today because Dad died on 31st March 2020, at the start of the pandemic. They say that love never dies, and maybe it doesn’t.

Mum at the Royal Oak pub in Milborne St Andrew in 2012

Dad as ‘Captain Tom’, steering a boat from Weymouth to Portland in 2019

3 thoughts on “A Blustery Day in Milborne St Andrew

  1. Liz Norbury

    It has been quite a week for you, with your medical procedures and your bittersweet visit to Dorset, so I hope you have a relaxing weekend.


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