Cemetery Days

Imposing


London is almost fifty per cent green, an astounding statistic for a city that is home to some nine million people (or the metropolitan élite if you prefer). we have an abundance of parks, small public gardens, private gardens, churchyards and cemeteries. The cemetery Celia and I visited on Sunday was not one of the Magnificent Seven. It was Camberwell New Cemetery. Situated next door to Camberwell Old Cemetery. Since generations of my father’s side of the family lived in Camberwell, I half expected to spot the name of one of my ancestors on a grave stone.

I didn’t.

But I did see a lot of graves. Hardly surprising. There are obviously fashions in monumental masonry as in everything else. When I was making arrangements for Aunt’s headstone I wanted something made from local stone. I was thrilled to find the monumental mason was of the same mind, and we spent a happy quarter of an hour agreeing that black marble headstones are an abomination in this country. Evidently not everyone shares our sensibilities. But despite the fact that I was supposed to be looking at plants, I couldn’t help but wonder what the story was behind this grave with its VW ornament.

Camper Van Grave

Continue reading

Nature Walk

Vicki was dubious about our accommodation when we booked. Now she’s converted. The staff are friendly, the position in Battery Point couldn’t be much better; it’s clean, simple with comfortable beds and good showers. I’d happily stay here again, so if you’re planning a trip to Hobart get in touch and I’ll give you the details.

,

Tonight we have borrowed plates and cutlery so we can eat ‘at home’ after a day at Mount Wellington. We went up by minibus to a summit shrouded in mist. Everyone else was staying with the minibus, but we had opted to walk down. Vicki started to have second thoughts on the way up, but screwed her courage to sticking point and off we set. The first, and longest, part of the walk was decidedly rocky. I have dodgy knees, so chose to lower my centre of gravity for extended sections of the path and move down on my bottom. The mist was my friend as I tend to fear when I can see how far down it is should I fall.

There was lichen, fungi, trees, plants I have never seen before, the sound of birds who mainly stayed out of view, but we saw some with yellow flashes on their sides. It was something of a nature walk.

I was in my walking boots and Vicki in her Blundstones, advertised as boots you can wear anywhere, doing anything. She disagrees. On steep descents her toes started slamming in the end of the boots; she has at least one blister to deal with now. Our progress was steady but slow, Vicky nursing her toes, me taking photographs. A few people passed us on the way up. Brave souls. You wouldn’t catch me doing that ascent these days.

As we walked on there were more trees, more bird calls. Then water. Lots of streams crossing our paths. Bubbling rivulets tumbling poetically. More walkers headed uphill. One or two coming downhill at a faster pace than us. Some trees seemed to have had their bark shredded by sharp claws.

Animal droppings at the beginning and end of the walk Vicki identified as wallaby. m. We hit a clearing; cars, toilets, picnic tables and a coffee van. We ate our sandwiches and enjoyed hot drinks. We had now reached the final ‘easy’ section. But if you have dodgy knees steps are often painful, not easy. It was beautiful though. Fern something, and it was very ferny.

Photo-20161116234800978.jpg

While we waited for the bus a kookaburra laughed loudly and invisibly nearby. There was quite a long wait and we checked our phones, replied to messages and sent new ones. We were deposited in the centre of Hobart, not far from our starting point. I have been wearing my boots for the last few days, but as we walked down to Salamanca Place I realised I was walking like a Walker; someone who has spent a large part of the day in the hills and been happy. Someone who has enjoyed reconnecting with nature and feeling her feet upon the ground in places that, if no longer wild, are not part of the tamed existence of the city.