Saturday, May 25, 2013

Nunhead Cemetery Open Day

Last weekend we did one of our days out that has most of our friends using one word to describe us - weird!! We went to an open day at Nunhead Cemetery in South London. It's one of the cemeteries known as the big seven - Victorian cemeteries that were built around 1840 to cope with London's increasing population and the resulting deaths.

The open day was fab, with all sorts of stalls, tours of the site, and a choir in the ruined chapel. We were going to do a tour but the group was too big to hear everything so instead we wandered around by ourselves.

Further into the graveyard there were some Bodgers at work - traditional wood workers, and birds of prey.

The ruined chapel had some great faces on it it - we love checking out gargoyles, with our favourites being the face pullers.

The cemetery is so beautiful and overgrown - it's lovely how nature has been left to thrive, and it's now a really important habitat for all sorts of creatures and plants. There is a small part of the cemetery that is still being used so that is kept tidy.

Whilst on our wander we came across two commonwealth war grave sites - the one pictured below is the Australian one - I felt quite moved by how beautifully looked after these graves so far from home are, and most of them just babies really, teenagers and 20's. The other war grave site was a mixture of Kiwis, South Africans, Canadians, and one lone Australian.

The two graves below are examples of head stones with a carving to show the person's profession in life - I really like the actors one.

A nice thing you see throughout the cemetery is lots of habitats specifically designed to encourage and look after the wildlife. The pile below was for staghorn beatles.

The choir were fantastic, with the chapel providing a perfect backdrop to their voices - they even got all of us singing. As Ken said, it was quite a surreal moment.

The upside down flame is on the gates as you enter the cemetery, but it is also on lots of gravestones as it is the symbol for life being snuffed out.

On our way home we went past Westminster Abbey so I've included a couple of their gargoyles and a lovely door.

So that was our exciting day out amongst the graves - a perfect day out.

Until next time, stay safe and happy.

Pamela and Ken

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Mayfair meander

We recently went into London to see an exhibition by the artist John Lowry Morrison, better known as Jolomo, which was on in Mayfair - posh area of London and one of the expensive properties on the monopoly board. Jolomo is from the same area of Scotland as Ken is and we love his paintings - when we win the lottery we'll definitely be buying one.

Mayfair is great for window shopping and seeing how the other half live - though can I just say that some of the outfits were a bit dubious.  Below are some pictures taken during our wander.

Cigar and Spirits shop

Umbrellas and walking sticks

Barber supplies


I think that Ken would look great in the green and blue outfit

Beau Brummel
The statue of Beau Brummell is at the end of one of the clothes arcades - he was a bit of a fashion icon in the early 18 hundreds.

Pictured above is the window of the gallery where the art exhibition was on - so civilised to go and look at art and as soon as we arrived they made us a hot drink and put out a plate of short bread. The paintings are so beautiful and colourful, really capturing the beauty of Scotland.

After window shopping we decided to pop into Fortnum and Mason which is a department store for the very, very posh!!  The store originated in the 1700's and it is in a beautiful old building with chandeliers throughout.  One of the things I really love about it is the packaging - everything is made to look so lovely.

Lovely biscuits

Even lovelier macaroons

Unfortunately this is a bit blurry - I took it because the bottle of bubbly is £7,000!!!

While we were there we decided to treat ourselves to a coffee and cake (a little bit more expensive than we're used to but you only live once) so went to the Parlour.  The most lovely thing was that when my latte came out it had a tiny ice cream cone on the side - how wonderful.

My lovely latte and coffee ice cream cone - Ken was wishing he'd ordered a hot drink when he saw mine.

After that lovely interlude we then wandered back to a tube station via Trafalgar Square passing a very nice looking chocolate shop - we tried not to drool as we pressed our faces against the window.

When we got to Trafalgar Square we discovered that it had been converted into a giant basketball court/exhibition - any tourists who were visiting for the first time would be very shocked.  It was really good to see lots of people having a go at basketball, with lots of different activities around the square.

The picture below is of a bicycle that we passed which I think has someones entire life attached to it - I was tempted to hang around just to see if they can really ride it like that.

To the side of Trafalgar Square is the church St Martins in the Field - it's a lovely church and they do a lot of work for the homeless.  We often go into the crypt as there is a cafe in there and good, clean toilets, which is very important to know when wandering around London.  The lady below was holding a vigil on the steps of St Martins.

In the crypt there are lots of memorials and these two caught my eye both because of their designs but also because of how old they are - the 1600's.  The bottom one I really liked because of the dodgy looking cherub on the top, and the skull at the bottom.

So that was our Mayfair meander - hope you enjoyed it.  So until next time be good, stay safe, and keep smiling.

Pamela & Ken