John Taylor: Love in just a click

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It’s early days yet, and we’re both just taking things slowly. But hopefully this relationship will blossom.

In fact it all happened over the New Year, when after a session on egg flips the courage was found to respond to a newspaper advert. And now my lifelong but jaded companion has been dumped for a younger model.

Yes, the object of this infatuation is an all singing all dancing digital SLR camera, and, as with all new paramours, it’s difficult to keep one’s hands to one’s self. But regarding the first love, pangs of guilt still remain.

Evoked not least by this photo from a Christmas past, when my constant companion was a star from the heyday of film – well, a Canon EOS 35mm, with telephoto lens – but enough reminiscing.

This scene is of the Stafford Almshouses in Shenley Church End, upon which a weathered plaque records their construction as being due to Thomas Stafford. This was in accordance with the wish of his deceased and namesake father, who in effigy is commemorated in the north aisle of the local church by a notable marble monument.

He reclines in armour, wearing a neck ruff, and at one time it stood railed off in the south transept, the Stafford chapel. Thomas died on March 25, 1607, aged 80 and carved in high relief on the front of the tomb are the effigies of his wife and their children – four sons and three daughters – all kneeling.

His will decreed that the almshouses should accommodate four unmarried, impoverished men and two women, and all had to regularly attend Shenley church.

They received a daily payment, and every All Saints Day given a gown to the value of 13s 4d. Land at Great Linford was purchased to provide a rental income but due to devaluation in 1882 the Charity Commissioners permitted three of the tenements to be let.

The income was then applied to the remaining occupants. But now the almshouses have been sold and converted into private accommodation. In fact Shenley is where my new love and I will be stepping out next. I’m sure we’ll continue to click. For in the realms of digital photography, there’s no waiting to see how things will develop.