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Bromyard

Hi sadly neglected journal! Here's a weekend away in pictures!

We tailed this for ages. Sadly my phone was unable to capture the perfect DUH expression on its face.



Once in town, we found a shop with a strong understanding of how a window display should be:



Perplexed, I peered through the door and saw these:



The place was shut when I was taking these photos, right, so I assumed the shop wasn't actually a shop. Maybe someone's dumping ground, I thought. But no, we came back the next day and there was a customer in there making a purchase. To be more specific, the customer was making a purchase over the eggs stacked up on the washing machine, because why not.

The town redeemed itself somewhat, however, when we found a restaurant that was both incredibly posh and incredibly cheap. We entered on the grounds that there was a cat inside on one of the chairs, which is usually a fine indication of Good Pubness, and found that, inside, the place had been done up to restaurant standard, with white tablecloths and everything.

We met the owner first and my dad talked to him about local history, then we were shown to a plush seating area where they gave us drinks and took our orders. A waiter with a tray offered to carry our drinks for us when we were shown through to our table, which had at least three forks per person and a basket of bread in the middle.

Then, the yorkshire pudding.



I should say right here that my dad has been crazy about family history for a while now. We were on holiday because it was his sixtieth birthday, so we figure this is an insanity brought on by age. He spends his limited free time looking up old censuses and tracking ancestors down.

In that pub, he had his first pay out from all that work: while discussing, again with the owner, the history of the place, my dad dropped the family name into the conversation and the owner came back with, "Oh! It's a shame you weren't here last week, then, you could have seen my wife's play!"

Because she'd put on a play involving my ancestors' parts in the life of the town, and its restoration after a massive fire.

This was the first hint that the holiday was going to be slightly unusual.

That and the eggs in the window.

We went into a very Christian bookshop and I upset the very Christian owner by giggling like a child over some Most Excellent books.



Someone's window boxes down the road were somewhat out of hand.



Hints of neighbourly affection within the town.



Then we came to this.



Which is actually this: a private collection of sci fi props and costumes, mostly Doctor Who, held within the basement of an old house. It was all low beams, stone floors, awkward staircases and Daleks, the latter set up to light up and speak when you held down the right buttons.



They also had Kryton from Red Dwarf, the Spectrum control room with all the dolls from Captain Scarlet, and a fair bit of Thunderbirds kit too.

After all this, we retired to the hotel for swimming and sauna, which was amazing. There was a freaking partridge in the car park. And pheasants. I haven't stayed somewhere that nice in years.

The following day we were back on the history trail. We followed a dirt track to a farmhouse, where my dad parked up and blithely wandered up to someone's house, let himself into their porch and banged on their door. This was the only house in an area surrounded by fields. After being subjected to my father's family history (which he is now in the habit of telling to anyone who will listen), they gave him a key.



We took the key through a gate and through a pathless field full of sheep. We went through a gate into another pathless field full of sheep, and there to the left was a pond and a church.

The churchyard was wildly overgrown. Gravestones stood at crumbling angles amongst long grass and wild flowers. Some were so ancient as to be utterly illegible; some had snapped into pieces under the assault of the weather and time.



The church itself.





Inside, we found the proof that my many-greats grandfather was the one who laid the first stone.



My phone's camera was ill-equipped to really capture the inside, but I tried.



The whole thing was incredible. I'm not really all that concerned about origins and that, but I was caught up in what felt almost like a kind of quest, a quest that was kind enough to deliver all sorts of rewards.

In the graveyard back in the town, I stepped on a smooth bit of stone in the grass, covered save for a section about a human hand wide. All we could see there was a name, Elizabeth, and when I peeled back the sod the stone was damp and difficult to read.

Until I looked at the sod itself, and saw that the lost words had been caught in the roots.



Not only that, but this Elizabeth was, ages all the goddamn odds, a family member. It blew my writer mind. To be honest, the whole thing did.

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