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. 



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