After our visit...
Before our visit...
In late afternoon sunshine, following a day of mainly rain, I parked near the beautiful, red-hued All Saints Community Centre - once the local school - which is adjacent to the churchyard.
Collecting water from the communal tap as I passed, I went in search of the resting place of Gordon and Winnie, and did not spend long in the process: the description of the headstone's location was accurate, and I quickly got down to work.
My first task was the removal of green algae that had built up down the centre of the headstone, particularly in between the letters of the inscription. A soft sponge and minimal amounts of soap - combined with lots of elbow-grease! - began to reveal the natural beauty of the grey-speckled granite beneath the weathered patina. A rinse with some fresh water, and a wipe with a dry cloth, left the headstone looking clean and crisp.
Happily, the grid on the flower vase was still in place, so I was able to give this a clean, along with the vase, and removed a handful of old leaves that had become lodged in it: a donation for the compost heap, near to the gate! I then put some fresh water in the vase, and set about cutting the pink/purple chrysanthemum stems to fit. The smell of fresh flowers is always wonderful! Once the flowers were in place, I topped up the vase with more fresh water - an uncharacteristic dry spell is predicted for the coming week! - and felt satisfied that the plot now looked much cheerier than it had done half an hour ago.
By this time, the sun was quite far down in the west - behind the large yew tree planted not far from the gate leading in to the churchyard from the main road - and the sunlight and shadows on the church walls gave a very speckled pattern: some of the larger quartz crystals in the granite seem to catch the setting sun and turn to amber. I was struck by what a beautiful space this is, despite being near to a fairly busy road; it feels connected to the activity outside, without being overwhelmed by it, and retains a peaceful sense of time gone by.