Sunday, April 14, 2013

Graveyards, Churches, and a Moomin

Yesterday we decided to risk the very fickle weather we've been having lately and head into London - when we left home the sun was trying to shine through the clouds and there were a few patches of blue sky.  Our destination was Bunhill Fields burial grounds - it's located north of St Pauls and covers 1.6 hectares.  It's believed to date from the 1600's and a couple of notable people buried there are John Bunyan (Pilgrims Progress author) and Susanna Wesley (mother of John and Charles).

John Bunyan's grave
When we got to the graveyard there were people there feeding the squirrels with peanuts, and the squirrels were very friendly, thinking that everyone had food - I know they're technically a pest but I think they're very, very cute.

It's a really atmospheric graveyard, with headstones at all angles - higgledy piggledy throughout the space, interspersed with spring flowers.  It's amazing how many inscriptions have survived considering how old they are.

You can see by the buildings in the background that it's in the middle of a very busy city, a little piece of calm amongst the rat race.  The headstone below is one of the really intricately carved ones that I loved - you can see why.

Now you may have noticed from the pictures that there doesn't seem to be any blue sky left - by now it looked like it was going to rain which wasn't great as neither of us were wearing wet weather appropriate clothes and I didn't have an umbrella with us.

Never mind, onwards we went and our next stop was at the Church St Bartholomew the Great in West Smithfield - it was founded in 1123 as an Augustinian priory.  It is one of the oldest churches in London having escaped the Great Fire.  It's also been used in lots of films, including Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, Elizabeth the Golden Age, and Four Weddings and a Funeral.  The architecture inside is amazing and there is a great smell - a combination of incense, candles, and age.

The first three photos show the exterior of the church:

Now some pictures from inside:

The next picture I took because this gravestone features in Four Weddings and a Funeral - at the end when Hugh Grants character is marrying duck face, this is where he ends up when she punches him - check next time you watch the film.

We ventured outside and what a surprise, it was raining!!  Now just to point out, at the weekend the Underground does not have every line working due to engineering, and where St Bartholomew's is, is no where near an underground station that was working.  Looking at our map we decided to head for Covent Garden, have something to eat, and then head home - this took quite a while and by the time we got there we were very wet!!  We did enjoy seeing bits of London we hadn't seen before (though it would have been good to have windscreen wipers on our glasses) and I quite liked this funky looking building.

We decided to go to Fire and Stone for a late lunch and to dry out - it's a pizza/pasta restaurant and I had a Melbourne Pizza!  Love it, butternut squash, red onion, brie, rocket, and balsamic vinegar - fabulous.

My beloved looking a little damp around the edges but still gorgeous

Now I'm going to tell you about the absolute highlight of the day - I know, what could be better than a lovely graveyard and a day in the rain with my beloved.  Well, as we were walking back through Covent Garden Market we came across a Moomin!!!  You probably don't realise this but I love the Moomins so of course I had to take the opportunity to get my photo taken with the Moomin - the thing dreams are made of.

Please ignore the state of my hair - remember we had been walking in the rain, just look at the lovely Moomin

So after that fun packed day we headed home - tired but rejuvenated.

Until next time stay safe, look after each other, and dream about how wonderful it was to hug a Moomin.

Pamela & Ken

Lovely door photo to finish:

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