Daily Archives: November 2, 2017

Wednesday Wander – Highgate Cemetery, London

Journey To Ambeth

It’s Wednesday, and it’s time to wander once more. This week I’m heading to a rather unusual attraction in London, a place one could describe as the ‘dead centre’ of town. This is Highgate Cemetery.

Up until the 1830’s, burial in London was a somewhat haphazard affair, with burial grounds crammed into small spaces, highly unsanitary in a large city with a growing population. In 1836, in response to the growing health crisis, Parliament passed an act creating the London Cemetery Company. Land was set aside to create seven new cemeteries, one of which was Highgate.

Opened in 1839, Highgate Cemetery was created after the acquisition of seventeen acres of private land, set on a steep hillside overlooking the city. Its elevated position encouraged the wealthy to invest, as did the effort expended on exotic formal planting and Gothic architecture. Burial rights were granted for either a limited period or…

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‘Lest we forget’…


“Who said their ‘Gods’ had to be exotic anyway?”


“I mean, the anthropologists have written tome after tome evidencing our ‘own High God’s’ development from the ‘lowly’ corn spirit.”



“‘Good’ originally, meant ‘good to eat’.”

“From Fodder to God, er…”




“The original inhabitants of New Zealand took their god with them, from Peru…”


“The Potato God.”



“Seems almost sacrilegious.”

“It does now, but the real sacrilege is forgetting our livelihood still depends upon staple foods.”

“A sobering thought.”



“We didn’t have potatoes, mind…”

“No, Sir Walter brought them over…”

“Their God, he left behind…”



“But we did have something else.”


“Friends, Britons, Countrymen, I give you…”



“The God of…”






“I like turnips.”

“So do I, especially at Halloween.”



The Silent Eye

We recently shared a simple meditation as a mark of love and respect for those who have passed, particularly within the last year. I thought long and hard about writing about what was a very personal and emotional experience, and the only answer I could find was that it was meant to be shared. Such a gift was not for me alone…  

I never really understood Halloween as a child. In Yorkshire, in my childhood, it was not the pumpkin-laden celebration it has now become… the fun came later with Mischief Night on the fourth of November, where, along with the tradition of giving soul cakes to callers on Halloween, you can see the shared origins with ‘trick or treating’. Mischief Night was a time for playing tricks on neighbours, and every year we were lectured in school about what was and was not acceptable. Tying door handles to metal…

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