Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Wandering through London

In my daily travels to Cate's daycare I've been looking for creative and new ways to traverse the streets so Cate doesn't realize where we're headed. I've found five different playgrounds between here and her daycare and several different routes.

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!


  1. it sounds wonderful, and such a shame to think of them all locked away in front of their computers whilst the outdoors is barren without them.

    Looking forward to you putting some pictures of your walks up.

  2. hello!!! Something very, very strange has happened to my hotmail We're still on for tomorrow- looking forward to it! x x

  3. One of the reasons I love London--finding little gems like this! Did you know that it was (is?) a common practice in Britain to bury people on top of each other? Usually it's family, but not always. Im not sure how many can (or have been) buried on top of each other but I suppose it has to do with keeping the top body a certain minimum depth. Space saving!

    If you like this sort of thing you might enjoy a book called the London Encyclopaedia. I love this book. You can look up almost any place in London and read a paragraph abut it's history. Fantastic!

    Here's a link for amazon (yo'll need to copy/paste as I dont know how to do links in comments boxes!):

  4. Sounds like you're enjoying your new home. That's good; there is a lot to enjoy.

  5. morning!! Hotmail still being weird. See you at 2! I'll be the one with the crazy blonde child wearing alligator welly boots- he refuses to wear his shoes!! x x


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