Computers, although often cursed, are really a blessing. This morning, after I negotiated successfully through the British Airways web site and booked flight tickets, I sat back at the very same computer and casually flicked through the hundreds of photographs I took during last spring’s visit to England. It felt odd to think that, Deo volente, I shall be there again in under a fortnight’s time.
On every visit I replenish my stock of images of Himbleton Church, the small parish church of St Mary Magdalene that sits among water meadows and sheep pastures to the west of the Bow Brook. Half a century ago I fished in that stream, played in those fields and misbehaved in that church where my father was the vicar. Little, if anything, has changed with the passing of the years. Even the names on the parish Electoral Roll, shrouded in plastic and attached to the porch notice board, are familiar – although these are the surnames of a recent generation. Their parents’ names, known to my family, are now engraved on stones surrounding the church.
Every set of pictures, often of the same interior and exterior scenes, reveals something new or different. Perhaps it is the change of season, time of day or a different light. Or perhaps my mood and intention in photographing an object. I don’t know. What I do know is that today I found myself looking at the Sandys memorial stone (see above) as if for the first time, and realizing that I have never really considered how important these people and their lineage were to my family - and surprisingly the history of the world.