This is, if I remember correctly, Wimborne Minster in Dorset. It is something of a stereotypical scene: old church, battered grave stones and ominous trees. It is a place you could easily imagine being haunted. The church is famous enough that if you want to get married there (there was a wedding taking place on the day this photograph was taken) you have to book far in advance because of the long wait list.

It is also near Bournemouth, my father’s hometown and the place where four of his five sisters (and their multitudes of children) still live. In a way, that should make this place comfortable and familiar to me. It’s a place where my family and family history can be found on every street.

However, my father left Bournemouth when he left school and I was not born there. I actually share a different hometown to both of my parents. Whilst the town is familiar from several visits I have made to Bournemouth in recent years, I do not feel the kind of personal connection I do even when I visit Romford, where my mother was born. There is fascinating history both in the town (there is another cemetery where Mary Shelley is buried) and more specifically around my family, but when I am in Bournemouth I do not feel like much more than a tourist, taking touristic photographs. It is not home, it is just a place.


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