Today, as the sun was shining and it was a few degrees above zero and looking very springy , Tim and I decided to bite the bullet and trek up to the giant Sainsbury at Kidlington. It's takes about forty minutes to walk and we'd heard it was mecca for hard-to-find ingredients and bulk goods (this is all related to the state of food shopping in our area, which I should write about in more detail).
Just a little way into our walk, we happened upon the Wolvercote Cemetery, which has a small stone church in the middle and then stretches away in every direction, divided up based on religion. It is still in use and many gravesites had fresh flowers laid over them.
Something twigged in my mind. I asked Tim, "Isn't this where Tolkien is buried?"
So it was. I had known Tolkien was buried in a cemetery north of the city, but hadn't taken the trouble to track it down. One of Tolkien's Oxford houses - where he wrote The Hobbit and a lot of The Lord of the Rings - is about a fifteen minute walk from us and we had gone by there over the Christmas break. In we went, setting out in search of the Roman Cathoic section of the cemetery. Helpfully, the path to the grave was well-signed.
There it was, just a ways off the track. Edith Tolkien listed a Luthien and John Ronald Reuel himself listed as her Beren, after the elf and human lovers in Tolkien's greatest love story in The Silmarillion. People had left flowers, medals, and one small thank you note on a torn square of notebook paper. Of course, I didn't have my camera; I'll have to take a picture another day - the site is really very close to our house. It's lovely and peaceful, with watchful trees and benches. It would make a lovely place to read on a summer's day.
And that's how I made my unintentional pilgrimage to the Master's grave.