When you have access to a car and can just jump in and go where you want to go, you don’t realise how awkward it can be when you need to take several buses to get just a few miles along the road.

Today was the funeral and memorial service for Hilary, a lady I knew very well from 50 years ago, and who was 92 when she died - the photograph from the Order of Service, at the bottom right of the collage is just how I remember her from all those years ago when she first came to live in Swindon.  She came to the Church that Mr. HCB and I attended and for many years we taught together in the Sunday School and she was also very involved with the Children’s Choir at the Church.

I couldn’t have got to the crematorium, so just decided to go to the Methodist Church in Wroughton, where Hilary had worshipped in latter years and where the service was being held.

I caught a bus into Old Town and went into Jack’s for a coffee, then caught another bus out to Wroughton.  However, I wasn’t sure where the bus would stop, so got off and decided to have a little meander, because I had plenty of time.  

The first place I stopped was by the Moat Pond - and I hadn’t been back here since I was involved in the Wroughton Passion Play over two years ago.  It was very quiet and beautiful, so I took several shots of the wrought iron dragonfly in the middle of the pond and just enjoyed the peace and tranquillity, and then carried on walking up the hill towards the Church.

Funny how you can pass somewhere and not really look - I hadn’t realised that The White Hart pub was thatched - and they even had the flags out for me!

The flowers in the village are very well kept and there were several boxes on barriers along the sides of the road - someone obviously takes great care of them and they certainly make the village look good.

Then, as I was looking at a house where another friend used to live, on the High Street, I saw an old fashioned bicycle, which had obviously seen better days, but this had been put to good use with flowers in both the front and back baskets, complete with a little frog sitting on the saddle.

I eventually reached the Methodist Church, where there was a very good turnout for the service.  Apparently, Hilary had chosen the hymns herself - they were all good rousing ones and the singing was excellent - I think we did her proud and the flowers in the Church looked beautiful too.  The Minister who led the service spoke very well of Hilary and I thought he put it very well when he said that during the wonderful singing of the first hymn, he had not heard any mobile phones, but if anyone had left theirs on, now was a good time to turn it off or put it on to silent!

It was lovely to see Hilary’s daughter, Claire, again and her husband, Rob.  We hadn’t seen each other for a number of years, but when I wrote to her a couple of weeks ago, I reminded her of how, when Claire was about 4 years old, her Mum and I had searched high and low for one of their tortoises, which had got out from an elaborate cage that Hilary had made - we did find it eventually but it took us a long time!

We often went to visit Hilary and Claire and had wonderful games evenings after a sumptuous supper, with most things being made by Hilary, who loved cooking.  She also made her own wine, and on one occasion, Mr. HCB had a small glass of her “carrot whisky” and then decided that he felt so intoxicated he couldn’t possibly drive home - it was a good job that I hadn’t been drinking too.

We went to the hall of the nearby Catholic Church for some food and it was good to meet many other friends who had known Hilary, and who I knew too so there was lots of reminiscing going on.

So many lovely memories of a kind and special lady, whose faith shone out - Claire and I have said we will keep in touch and hopefully we will have a games evening together soon and no doubt raise a glass to Hilary.

The poem by Christina Rossetti was beautifully read by Julie, another long-standing friend - I was just going to quote the last couple of lines, but in case those reading don’t know it, have decided to quote it in full.

Remember me when I am gone away, 
         Gone far away into the silent land; 
         When you can no more hold me by the hand, 
Nor I half turn to go yet turning stay. 
Remember me when no more day by day 
         You tell me of our future that you planned: 
         Only remember me; you understand 
It will be late to counsel then or pray. 
Yet if you should forget me for a while 
         And afterwards remember, do not grieve: 
         For if the darkness and corruption leave 
         A vestige of the thoughts that once I had, 
Better by far you should forget and smile 
         Than that you should remember and be sad.
Christina Rossetti : 1830-1894

P.S.  The mystery  abstract from yesterday was “posh” barbed wire that surrounds an electricity sub-station in the town centre.  

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