In this blog’s About tab, I say that I rarely set out to present narrative images, that is to say pictures or series of pictures that tell a story or have hidden meanings. Instead, I mainly try to create images that stand or fall on their pictorial or graphic content alone. This image is an exception.
Where was this taken? Well, I was in the cemetery of the church of St Mary The Virgin, in the little village of Stanton Drew, which is just south of Bristol. Wandering in this always delightfully tranquil churchyard, I found this and at once fell in love with it. It is an epitaph that, by saying so little, says so much.
What is here? Well, we have the name of a lady who died just short of a hundred years of age. We have her dates but, beyond them, nothing precise. I tried her name on google, but only arrived at a photo of this gravestone. But so much more can be read from this – conjecture certainly, but this is how it seems to me.
She just missed her century but not much else – wonderful! To me this is a straightforward, humorous and succinct tribute to a local character. An old lady, a spinster perhaps, living alone in the village probably. Someone who, although old, had her wits still very much about her, with a great thirst and curiosity to stay in touch with everything that was going on around her. OK, maybe thriving on local gossip, maybe not, but in any case an alert and lively personality, full of conversation – and, as we Brits say, it wouldn’t have been easy to “pull the wool over her eyes”, that is, to fool or misguide her.
Had she lived in Stanton Drew for all of her long life? Maybe not, because there is no one else, living or dead, mentioned on the stone.
She just missed her century but not much else – in what spirit were these words said? Maliciously? I very much doubt it. Rather, there is good friendship here, with maybe a flavour of Somerset, and more certainly with an old friend’s warm sense of humour.
So, however brief these words are, they are wonderfully eloquent. They are the celebration of a person.
Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.
Technique: X-T1 with 55-200 Fujinon lens at 300mm (equiv); 400 ISO; 7 June 2016.
A celebration of person, exactly. Wonderful find!
Glad you agree – thank you! 🙂
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This is brilliant… It says so much… It also makes me grin and wonder what my headstone would say.
On another note.. A friend of a friend, of a friend (you know how it goes) an old lady who had made her own arrangements, right down to a package of clothes she was to wear, was laid in state, open top coffin etc.
She had been to Blackpool and purchased one of those funny bowler hats with a message on it…
Hers read.. Sod off, I’m having a bad day! 😀
HAHAHA! >>> absolutely LOVE this!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
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That is indeed a fantastic epitaph, even if it does raise far more questions than it supplies answers.
Yes absolutely, Stella, its short and to the point. Its simple, Minimal in fact, and very much “less is more”, and I can only feel great admiration for whoever thought it up. 🙂
Thanks, Harrie! 🙂 🙂 🙂