Wednesday, November 28, 2012
A Stopover in Minstead
Today's post is somewhat off topic, but I have rather an interesting story to tell. Every word of what follows is true:
I have always been a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his work and happened to be reading 'The White Company', in which the village of Minstead is referenced.
As I was in England at the time, driving through the New Forest, I happened to look up and see the signs for Minstead. It was only a mile or so away, and I decided, on the strength of his book, to take the small detour and have a look. Minstead was as tiny as it sounded in Doyle's book, a few buildings in the square, dominated by a larger, though still very small, church.
Stopping by the churchyard, I took a moment to stroll the grounds - which in the UK are nearly always spotted with the gravesites of parishioners past. As I walked, I spied a large tree (it was an English Oak, if I remember correctly) near the edge of the field. I felt irrestibly drawn to the place, and after a moment found myself there.
I remember thinking that it was a quiet, peaceful corner of the world, a perfect place to enjoy your final rest.
As I was thinking this, I naturally wondered who lay in this corner of the graveyard. As my eyes lit upon the nearest tombstone, I froze - Before me was the grave of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
I had made an inadvertent pilgrimage...
...Or had I been brought there by the shade of the man himself?
I am still in doubt as to whether it was a coincidence.
It was profoundly silent as I stood for some minutes in contemplation.
At length, I spoke a few words of gratitude and took my leave.
But I have promised myself that one day I will return and pay another visit to the man I have come in some strange and inexplicable way to consider a friend.