BERNADETTE CYNTHIA HEALY
I take a step inside. There is a lady of a similar age to mine handing out leaflets to those who enter. She smiles as she sees me walk through door, though I can tell she is intrigued because she doesn't recognise my face.
'Good morning,' she hands over a leaflet.
'Good morning,' I smile back, knowing that I'm going to have to ingratiate myself with someone, and it wouldn't surprise me if she knew Father Thomas personally.
There isn't anyone else around and I wait a fraction of a second before she asks me the inevitable question, 'have you just moved to London?'
'Not to my knowledge, though the way things are changing so quickly these days, it certainly feels like it sometimes. I actually live in Richmond, but I had some family who used to live around here. It's been so long, so I thought I'd pay a visit.'
'That certainly is out of your way. Are your family joining you today?'
'Unfortunately not in person, but hopefully in spirit. I haven't been here in years, it hasn't really changed much, has it?'
The lady raises her eyebrow and I realise I've made a mistake, 'it still feels the same when you're inside,' I smile again trying to make some headway with this tight-lipped woman. She's a lot tougher than first impressions would have you believe.
'The reconstruction isn't always noticeable, I suppose when you've not been here in so long. But for me it feels very different to when I was here as a child. It's still the same church but sometimes I feel like it's had to grow up so fast in the last five decades, than it has in the last four centuries! What was the name of your family? I'm Clare Miller,' she gives me her spare hand to shake.
'Augusta Davidson. My family were originally called Healy though, before I got married.'
'Oh, did you get married here?'
'Oh no, I was married out in the Cotswolds, but my step brother was married here back in the 1960s. I don't suppose you keep records here for things like that do you? It's just it'd be nice to have a look at the date written down, and to see their signatures again.' I do my most earnest face in the hope that this Clare Miller's heart will soften.
Perhaps there is a flash of recognition across her face, or maybe I'm just clutching at straws, but she nods and says that most of the records since the Second World War are still kept in the church, but all the older church registers are kept in the London Metropolitan Archive. Silly me, I should have known that, I've used the LMA more times than I can count. But at least that means Albert Healy's wedding details should be in this church, just within reach.
I give my overenthusiastic appreciation, telling her how much this means to me and I find a pew towards the back, behind a column, so as to observe but not be observed. I hope she doesn't believe that the Healy's are dead, for there is always the possibility that she knows of them. London may contain seven million people, but there are those who have a memory for names and faces. Clare Miller strikes me as one of those.