Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Wandering through London
Yesterday I wandered across an ancient graveyard with a path through it. It's heavily traveled by walkers, bikes, dogs and stroller. People have lunch and there are too many smokers hanging around having a puff than there are folks in the ground - I don't think I have to point out the irony there. Even though it's a graveyard - it's completely alive and fascinating to me. The graves are fenced off by iron gates but the paths are cobblestoned with benches and the living folks mingle quite comfortably with the dead. There is no church - I guess it's long gone.
The gravestones are so old many are unreadable - they're covered in moss and shaded by huge, old oaks and other trees. It's the perfect setting for a Halloween horror flick but I don't find it creepy. The oldest gravestoneI could find was 1692 - a woman who died at the age of 32 - couldn't make out the name. There was another gravestone that was huge and had eight people buried - the first a 28 year old man in 1802 the last a 67 year old man in 1902. Everyone in between were all related - probably mothers, fathers, daughters son, etc - all the same family - and the later the date the older the age. I just found that interesting.
Today I walked through and there was a caretaker raking leaves and twigs away so I asked him about the place. The oldest gravestone is marked 1380's and the last is 1912. The little gravestones leaning against the larger one are usually for children (awful!). However, 1380! That's long before Columbus even discovered the Americas - even before he was born. You won't find stuff like this in the US - that's for certain.
Anyway, last night I went to walk through the graveyard but discovered it closed. I had to walk further down the road and past a law school library. Through the HUGE windows I could see all the young future soliciters and barristers toiling away on computers and through the other set of windows on teh other side were rugby and football pitches - beautifully kept with no one on them. I guess lawyers have no time to play sports.
I'm finally starting to appreciate this neighborhood and we're leaving. I'm looking forward to wandering the streets of Hampstead and familiarizing myself with the heath. I'll have to figure out how to download pictures on this computer to accompany my tales.
Tomorrow I'm having tea with Georges Mum. Can't wait!