When I was a young girl in Banffshire, we lived in  a house whose rear windows backed on to an ancient cemetery, where I would wander and wonder at grave  stones which went back to 1600.   Some might be graced with images of  skull and crossbones, with the ominous injunction, always heard by me in deep tones of gloomy warning, Prepare to Meet Thy God.   I always found it a quiet, reflective and comfortable place.

This week I went with John to look  at some of the art on display in Ditchling, and wandered through the village cemetery.   It was sunny, and I sat on one gravestone which was table fashioned, with my feet on another and reflected that I still feel very comfortable in the quietness of cemeteries.    The lichen covered stone was warm beneath me, a blackbird sang from a tree in the corner, and when we walked later, we discovered a lovely pond hidden by the edge of the  graveyard.

John thought to sit on a gravestone might be disrespectful to the dead, but I felt surrounded by peace and calm.   When I left, I bowed my head.   May they rest in the peace I felt among them.


About adhocannie
I am a good natured woman with a long memory and a swift tongue. I like loooking at things and thinking about them. Also food, clothes, travel, reading, sewing. I try to see the ridiculous in things, but sobriety of reflection keeps edgting in. I have husband, children, grandchildren, friends... I feel rich in things that matter. I am a happy exile. I like writing. I do not like talking about me (though I do.). You willl be much more interesting.


  1. Carolyn says:

    We all need oasis of peace and calm in our lives Anne, two weeks before your daughter’s wedding must rank as one of the best times to experience these feelings!

    • adhocannie says:

      Do you know, I’ve looked at other people falling to pieces before weddings and thought, what on earth is it all about? Well, who knows what other people’s inner landscape may be like? It’s hard enough to recognise our own. Fortunately, Elisabeth, our bride, and Rob her fiance, and just about everybody else apart from me, seems to be rock steady and I’m confident in spite of my jitters, we’ll all have a really lovely day. Who would think losing your last darling would cause such a crisis!! It’s a bit like when your children go off to university. The first is a wrench; the second is a loss; then you’re left with the last little one (only not so little by that stage.) Our last one was heard to complain it was very hard being the entire focus of parental attention (I thought he meant about his homework not being done, – which certainly was a just cause for parental anxiety!) – but maybe he was more profound, if teenagers can be profound?) When the last one goes, you’re gutted. Maybe their marriages (even though on one level you’re delighted to deliver them into the hands of loving partners) have the same effect? I used to be like Mr Toad, and ‘know everything there is to be know’d’ but the older I get, the less I seem to know. Maybe life’s journey is about recognising the depths of your ignorance, and in that case I probably am guaranteed a very long life.

  2. Sheena says:

    The atmosphere of a cemetery has long appealed to me also. The rich, full silence, poignant history, and garden-like calm is always so restorative.

    I love a little cemetery, tucked away, almost forgotten, with warn and lichened stones, reminders of the pioneers who struggled in almost unimaginable ways in their every day life. I think of the women, particularly, and how easy we have it raising our children and keeping our homes by comparison.

    The cemetery at Lower Sandwick, the old one, holds fond memories for me. It’s right by the sea, there are tumbles of nasturtiums and fuchsia growing everywhere, there’s a salty tang in the air, and, although it lacks the feeling of restful repose, there’s an elemental wildness to the place that seems very fitting.

    • adhocannie says:

      I haven’t been to the cemetery there. There was a programme recently on the Iolaire (sp) which went down just there I think. It would be nice if we could go there together some time. I will write you shortly to suggest a visit to Sussex anyway – I don’t know about Lewis just yet. AA

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