Great grandfather’s orchid

My great grandfather died in 1913 aged just 62. He was, I have come to understand, racked with arthritis and quite unable to do anything. All sorts were tried, of course. When I couldn’t find him on the 1901 census, a friend worked at it and eventually found him in Bath, hoping the waters would do some good. They did not.

When he was buried a wooden memorial was erected at the head end. My grandfather took a photo of it in the 1920s. Of course, a wooden board rots away and I never saw any sign of it in my visits to the Hadlow Down church. On one occasion when my dad visited, he found ‘tidying’ was in progress and he was able to acquire a metal grave number from great grandad’s grave which his widow still has.

Using grandad’s photo I was able to identify just where the now completely unmarked grave actually is and it had, for me, a perfect marker. This marker had no words of memorial, but it spoke to me of new life and regeneration. It was a beautiful, blooming entirely wild orchid.

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What could be finer!

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