The weather of late in my part of the world has been somewhat damp, cold and a bit on the miserable side.
My view may be coloured by being laid low by a winter bug (which, I must admit, isn’t too bad, just a little tiresome on the sore throat front), but on the up side, it’s the perfect sort of weather for wrapping up warmly and mooching around graveyards.
As it happens, the graveyard I mooched around the other day was, for a few moments, bathed in late afternoon sunshine.
This is the entrance to the church and graveyard of Bendochy Parish Church, just outside the Perthshire town of Blairgowrie. The bell apparently dates to 1608:
The eagle-eyed might have spotted a curious stone lump to the left of the entrance arch. This is, I believe, a cheese press, although what it’s doing outside the church gates I have no idea:
Inside the churchyard there are quite a few headstones dating back to the 17th and 18th Centuries.
Some of them have fallen over and a few others, that are in the process of falling over, have yellow and black tape on them to warn visitors that they might fall over at any minute. Most of them, however are hanging in there even if looking slightly unstable, as in the case of this one on legs:
One that particularly interested me had a carving of what looked to me at first glance like a robot. On closer inspection I saw that it was a skeleton with some sort of yoke across its shoulders, possibly with buckets hanging down on either side (they seem too long to be the arms).
I don’t know if there’s any religious significance to this, something to do with taking water into the afterlife in order to dowse the flames of hell perhaps? Seems a bit of an assumption on the part of the person commissioning the stone, if that’s the case.
Another stone that caught my eye had rather an unusual shape and what looked to me like a jolly sort of skull wearing a bowler hat:
Headstones these days seem to me to lack the variety of shapes of those from past centuries. You do get some interesting design features, such as the ones I wrote about here, but on the whole the headstone nowadays is almost always a basic slab of stone, sticking up from a flat base.
I was quite taken by this one at Bendochy, made to look like a pile of stones with a scroll at the front. I think it shows a bit of artistry on the part of the designer, not to say skill on the part of the carver:
The forecast for the next couple of days here is for colder weather and snow showers. We’ve been very lucky with the weather this winter so far, with very little snow, which is just the way I like it.
Thankfully, I’m stocked up for cossetting myself indoors, with what remains of kind donations of chocolate received from wellwishers at Christmas:
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