Smoky marks form a cross on my forehead, and echo the crusted cross above the tiny church where I received them.
Tiny church – the smallest in England – rests among sheep on a green slope; an almost imperceptible stream at the field’s boundary, following a distant track to Ebbesbourne.
Enormous sums have been raised to preserve this small stone building, rebuild its roof, plaster its stonework, damp-proof floors, and place a ribbon of heaters around the cold walls.
Enshrining memories of times gone into mist, ever a small community edging along a narrow valley, rural and distant.
..and the ashes link us: a light scatter of history … touches and passes, and a smudge remains to mark the skin.