Monday, January 21, 2013

Inspiration from the Past

When was the last time you went and REALLY looked at a gravestone? If ever people pass through one they tend not to linger or, if they do, it's at a grave of a loved one. But think about all of the other stories that lie there.

Some of the older graves often have an interesting story to tell. In my local churchyard lies Ann Cook, wife of Thomas, who died in 18?4 (the grave is weathered too much to make out the detail), and underneath, in four simple lines, is her life story:

On a Thursday she was born,
On a Thursday she was a bride,
On a Thursday her leg was broke,
On a Thursday died.

Clearly, Thursdays were a mixed blessing for her, some being good, whilst others being not so good. But what a wonderful overview, and how poignant that such things all happened on a Thursday (albeit that, mathematically, there was a one in seven chance of these things happening on a Thursday anyway). Do other people remember the day such things happened in their lives?

In this cold weather, it's worth nipping into the church too. In the nearby village of Eardisley, the church has a memorial plaque, near the vestry, to the Barnsley family which recounts the terrible tale of their 'Bubbles Broken'. Anyone who has read Charles Dickens' Bleak House will spot the plot line laid out for all to see in this memorial. (And yes, records show that Dickens did visit the area.)

So, if you're stuck for inspiration, it might be worth hanging out with some folks of the past. You never know what you might come across. And if it was good enough for Dickens, then it's good enough for us!

Good luck!