We’ve had a death in the family, we have been low.  And, in due course,  we attended the crematorium and, because I’m me, with an almost unbreakable (some would say, unbearable) compulsion to be early, we were early, very early.  Those attending earlier services ebbed and flowed, grieving, around us and, it being a nice day, a cold but beautifully sunny day,  I decided to take myself off for a stroll around the site’s gardens and memorials.

Most of the latter were fairly conventional stuff, sincerely meant no doubt, but with formal words, names, dates and so on – which made me reflect that I certainly don’t want this sort of treatment when I die – and no, I’m not going to say that I wouldn’t be seen dead in a place like this …  its just that I want my ashes scattered anonymously out at a favourite spot on the Somerset Levels – the Magic Carpark –  where the cattle, tractors, farmers and walkers will trample, grumble and rumble unknowingly over me, gradually grinding me down ever further into a place that I have a vast affinity for.  I shall be below sea level and I can’t swim, but then again perhaps that won’t matter by then.

But, anyway >>> anyway!!! >>>  away towards the back of the little enclosure that I was in, and approached by a curving gravel path, stood a garden bench, with bunches of bright daffodils and other flowers tied to it.  And looking at that bench, I just felt that there was something about it that made me want to get closer to it.  I suppose you might say that I could feel it drawing me towards it.  In short, I was intrigued, totally curious, such that not getting any closer was unthinkable.

And walking on up to that seat, alone and with no sound but that of the gravel crunching under my feet, I found the plaque pictured below, mounted on its backrest – and, quite simply, it was one of those moments that you know, instantly, are special.  Life-enhancing might be overdoing it, but spiritually uplifting certainly isn’t.

For here were two things.  One of which of course was the record of a loving relationship, which is in itself uplifting, a cause for warm thoughts and happiness.  But what really got to me – and what still very much really gets to me – is that, this relationship having been struck by the death of the man,  the woman decided to say exactly what was in her heart, and to have it displayed on this bench for all to see.  Having been but moments before wading through a sea of conventional tributes and endearments – phrases that I too have had engraved onto loved ones’ tombstones –  I just loved the freshness and loving vibrance of this.

Its all simple, wonderful and straight from the heart, but MY BIG STRONG NORTHERNER really gets inside me and stirs me up – wow!  And the kisses too, simply so downright, so fundamentally, human.


Normally I wouldn’t picture words like this from a cemetery, but they do strongly affect me, and having them placed so prominently on this seat, Jac wants others to see them too.  Now they will have a wider than anticipated audience.

And I may have almost got to meet Jac – for between the time when our service started, and the time after our service when I took these photos, someone had come and changed the flowers on the bench, replacing those going over with fresh blooms.  I should have loved to have had that encounter – and, without the slightest doubt, would have made my feelings about her words clear.  It would have been wonderful to meet her.






  1. A very moving post Adrian. I’m sorry that my response to your comment on my last post now doesn’t seem quite appropriate. Family losses are always difficult. I’m glad that you found this little story and hope it helped you through the day.


    • Dave, forget about appropriate, appropriate is a terrible word! Its always very good to hear from you, my friend, I hope you’re both fine and well. All the best. Adrian


  2. A death in the family is always worse for those left behind, rather than those leaving. Hang in there.
    The bench is a lovely thought.
    I’m not a flower type person and when I go I don’t want someone to feel they have to visit me on heydays and holidays, but I too would like a bench. Not in a park, or pretty garden, but half way up a hill where someone can take a pitstop, and maybe a few daffodils planted in a grass verge nearby.
    Maybe a plaque could read something like “take the weight off your feet and think a happy thought before you move on” 🙂


  3. A very lovely post this is, and I’m sorry you’ve lost someone, but it does bring emotion to the surface, which you are generous enough to put out there, as Jaq did. I love your description of the place and way you’d like to be left, when the time comes.


  4. I’m welling up just reading the words on that bench. How fresh, how personal, and how so very relevant – straight from the heart. I’ve told my family that if there is any one fit enough, and that will probably be my son, I want my ashes scattering on one of the high giants of the Alps. He’s climbed some of them with me, so he should be able to manage that.


  5. Such an eloquent tribute, Adrian. As entropy progresses to ultimately embrace us all, it is a good thing to reflect upon how others have expressed their feelings regarding what may (or may not) be the final transition. I am sorry to hear of the loss in your family,but hope that one of its effects will be to bring others closer together


    • Gary, thank you for your comforting and supportive words – and entropy progressing to ultimately embrace us all us a very good way of putting things. I wouldn’t normally have been carrying a camera in such circumstances, but the service saw the reunification of two separated parts of my wife’s family, and so I was charged with recording the event. Hope you’re fine, my friend! Adrian 🙂


  6. And here, on your wonderful blog, you’ve paid yet another fabulous tribute to Mick – and Jac. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I LOVE the narratives, bud. RIP, Mick. Nice job, A. XXX ATP XXX


    • Gemma, thank you very much for these good thoughts – and I’m especially glad that they’re coming from you, bud. Two bits of news, one laughable, one horrific. First, I was out walking around here yesterday, and I witnessed two greyhounds killing a cat – which was truly shocking and horrific. Of course I used to see such things on safaris but they were expected there – but yesterday was absolutely appalling – the sheer, naked savagery was just – wow! But lightening matters a bit, I see that the NJ governor has thrown his hat in with Mr Trump – these are uncertain times, my friend!!! Hope you’re good! ATP xxx


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