I am memorialised twice in my village church. Not in some premature lapidary way, but in the visitors’ book. The first time was with my toddler, when I wrote her name down. Some years later I showed her that scribbled evidence and inked us in again. There we were, here we are.
I always sign these modest manuscripts, with their columns for date, name, address and comments, and I’m always touched by the commonplaces: ‘So peaceful.’ ‘Thank you for being open.’ ‘Beautiful.’ Sometimes the signatories are far from home; tourists who stumble in, or those searching out forebears. On a recent trip to Ludlow, in pursuit of A. E. Housman, I randomly opened the book in St Laurence’s, where he lies interred. Visiting on 22 November 2017, from 90 miles away in Calne, were Michael and Janice Housman.