Ant’s Bees

19th December 2018

On Monday we held the first of our Carol Concerts, amongst a very full church it was lovely as always to see a good ‘smattering’ of couples whom we have married, unfortunately, with a lot going on I did not get a chance to chat with everyone. 

One of the people that we did have the opportunity of speaking to was Helen. Helen is one of those whose story brings home to both Mary & I the fact that Dode touches peoples lives, sometimes very deeply, and I know that she would not mind if I share our side of it with you.

It was early summer some four years ago and we were driving across Romney Marsh when Mary’s phone rang, the conversation quickly became unusual with Mary explaining that whilst we can act quickly the Registration Office requires a statutory period to processes requests for weddings. I pulled over as the reception was not that good and remember walking across the road to watch some frogs when I returned she was visibly upset.

In this and in all similar cases the Registration Office acted with both speed and compassion and in a short time the wedding took place and Helen married Ant in a quiet but joyous ceremony. I returned in the early evening to find them sitting alone in the church as they were staying the night in the retreat. Ant’s illness made it very difficult for him to talk but the day had worked it’s magic. ‘ I have always wanted to keep bees, have you ever thought of keeping bees’ he asked ‘it would be a great place’. I agreed ‘ it would be a great place and I tell you what, I will get a hive and when you are better you can keep Dode’s bees’.

Coincidence or fate, as so often happens at Dode stepped in and the very next day a friend who was moving rang to ask if I had any use for a number of items amongst which was a beehive. I placed it beside our pond in the hope that Ant would be able to keep his part of the agreement.

Sadly he was unable to do so; a short time later we received word that he had passed away.

That Christmas I noticed something on the beehive, walking over I discovered that it was a posey of flowers & a poem. Without a word being spoken, and totally appropriately,  the beehive had become Ant’s memorial and on their anniversary Helen leaves a small bouquet.

A few years have now passed and time, as it always does, has begun to heal but understandably, at times Monday evening was difficult for Helen. 

Many trees have now also been planted at Dode to remember loved ones but there is only one beehive which in about six months time will again possess it’s little ‘hat’ of flowers. D.