By bus to Beaminster

Half running and the last person to catch the bus, narrowly avoiding being squeezed in the doors, I expect the driver to start with an irritated jerk. Not so. He asks me (jokingly) if I’m too young to have a free pensioners pass and I answer not too young but too foreign. He wants to know where and how long I’ve lived abroad, seemingly oblivious to marginal matters such as passengers. Then he asks about the social situation in Sweden. First I think he wants to know about what social life is like but no he’s interested in pensions and care and so on. I answer him as succinctly as I can and he seems satisfied. Then looks at me and says in a conversational tone, I suppose we’d better get going as if he wanted input from me before taking such a drastic step. And after I confirm his view of the world, off we go. I rather like people who forget about their role (it reminds me of me).

It feels liberating to be on a bus moving through the soft, green, Marshwood Vale through Melplash and on to Beaminster with the Dorset hills in the background. mild and damp and the wind is coming from the south-west.  Until now, I’ve now mostly stayed in my room and worked, sorting out loose ends after six weeks in India and fixing a few bits of translation. It’s refreshing to feel the world of work loosening its grip.

Beaminster is a pleasant small town although its population of just over 3.000 makes it more the size of a village. But it feels like a small town. Pevsner doesn’t have much to say about the secular buildings and I realise that I have to dig more in the archives in Dorchester and visit Beaminster again, preferably in the morning when the light is better..

The church tower is very fine and there is a monument I like with a man and woman discussing a book (where can one sign up for this variant of death…) The church is dedicated to St Mary like Bridport’s parish church. I’d like to know more about dedications and need to get a map of all the parishes in the relevant sees (Sherborne and Salisbury) to see what patterns there may be.

The bus back to Bridport is full of schoolchildren. A boy indicates a vacant seat beside him, which I gratefully take (do I look so lost when I’m just trying to make up my mind?). He then asks me how my day has been and I tell him it’s been OK. He seems a bit flummoxed when I ask him how his day has been. He mumbles an answer which I can’t hear and we proceed more or less peacefully to Bridport.

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