No Further Sustenance Required

Have you ever heard of nasturtiums blooming in England six days before Christmas?

Well you have now. These still cling, erect, to the trellis attached to the garage door.

The purpose of Walkford Woodland Burial Ground is to provide plots for interment and for ashes which will eventually return to their natural state. Approved trees may be planted among the graves, with clusters of flowers around the cremated ashes. These flora must be those found indigenous to this country.

Today I accompanied Jackie, Helen, and Shelley for their annual placing of a wreath on their mother’s plot.

Afterwards Shelley produced a splendid meal for us all, including other husbands, Ron and Bill. We were treated to a succulent chicken and artichoke heart casserole; creamy mashed potato; and flavoursome carrots and Brussels sprouts. This was followed by home-grown raspberry and blackberry crumble with cream or custard. I, of course, chose custard. Red and white wines were on offer, after mulled wine. When we returned home no further sustenance was required.

A Haven Of Peace After The Storm

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This morning we wandered around the garden investigating signs of Spring regrowth. We have snowdrops, hellebores and crocuses coming into bloom.

Daphne odora

The still small daphne odorata is keeping its powder dry until the temperature is warm enough for its burgeoning buds to burst open.

From these signs of burgeoning life we visited the Woodland Burial Ground at Walkford so that, on what would have been her mother’s birthday, she could add to the planting around her burial plot. Pleased to see her earlier snowdrops coming through, she added more and a further primula.

The idea of this scheme is that human remains be allowed to rest in communion with natural woodland. There are no gravestones. Some bodies are buried; others’ ashes are interred. Each has a little marker. The soil around the plots settles naturally back into the earth. Only native woodland flowers are permitted to be planted on the sites, although it is clear that many people do stretch a point.

Jackie

Wreaths, such as that which we set in place in December, must be removed by the end of this month. Jackie took it away today.

Gardener

Two gardeners were busy tidying up after yesterday’s gales. In speaking to one, I observed that there was much to do after the storm. He agreed, adding that what was worst was the rain, bringing a great deal of mud and heavy soil that was difficult to work, especially in the digging of graves. I described his workplace as a haven of peace.

A diversion on our return home took us past Shelly and Ron’s home. Naturally we called for a pleasant chat, coffee, and, in my case, a slice of delicious Christmas cake.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s savoury rice served with Thai style prawn fishcakes, peas, and green beans.

 

 

An Annual Event

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This morning I printed a batch of sample photographs from which Raj at Lal Quilla can make a selection for his wall.

These have all featured on previous posts.

At lunchtime Jackie drove us over to Shelly and Ron’s home in Walkford for the annual wreath-laying on Mum Rivett’s plot in the Woodland Burial Ground.

Jackie, Helen, Shelly, Anthony at Mum Rivett's plot

Jackie’s nephew Anthony joined me and the three sisters who laid the wreath. The temperature was cold and it rained throughout.

Afterwards we repaired to Shelly and Ron’s home, where we all spent a pleasant afternoon and early evening, together with the other two husbands. Shelly produced a wonderfully cooked dinner of roast turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes and parsnips, red cabbage, Brussels sprouts with chestnuts, and carrots. I’m bound to have missed something here. This was followed by excellent blackberry and apple crumble with custard; and Helen’s superb trifle and cream made using some of Rachel and Gareth’s wedding cake. Red and white wines were enjoyed, after Ron’s mulled wine.

After the meal we were treated to Ron’s video of the above-mentioned wedding and a cultural trivial pursuits quiz, some of which, between us, we answered correctly.