Sunday, 31 January 2021

Buried But Not Forgotten

Everyone I talk to has a tale to tell of how being buried in the lockdown is getting to them.  What effect are restrictions (if any) having on you? It's making me less communicative in writing, I think - it's a struggle these days to even do Facebook, and, although I love to read your blogs I'm not writing here much either.  Are you doing Zoom chats with family and friends? I'm certainly doing that more.  

In general, we're okay though. We've both been vaccinated and we are managing day to day, but we have friends and relatives living in countries where vaccines are in short supply or even unavailable, and every day is an incredibly anxious one for them.   Yes, we're lucky. 

My first vaccine shot was two weeks ago. I haven't a date for the next one yet but they're not booking much in advance.  Below's a (blurry) photo of inside the vaccination centre. We were in a gymnasium, sodium lit and freezing cold, with people filling out consent forms, all muffled up against the cold, with volunteers running around sanitising chairs and vaccinators working full stretch in the little white booths at the right.   

Afterwards, I felt liberated,   though I know I won't be properly protected for a while, so mustn't be over confident.  I'm glad the vaccine rollout has been fast, but it needs to be.  A relative works at a big NHS hospital and is flat out helping staff who are at the end of their tether, so we both want to avoid doing anything that puts even more pressure on the NHS. 

For this reason, we've sadly decided to miss the twins' birthday party this week. They've been planning it in detail, food, games, etc. all ready for the guests, who will be their teddies. 


More obedient, good natured friends than the teddies are hard to imagine, but I'll be glad when the twins can get back to school and see their real live friends.  
  
Nothing fazes Nature in London at the moment, it seems. The shoots of the spring bulbs are starting to appear on schedule. I was thrilled to see how one little snowdrop had pushed some flowers through holes in a leaf which had fallen on it and been shading it all winter.  


 And T. and I have been litter picking. It's great to leave a place looking better than you found it. We've been spending more time than usual around the church of St John-at-Hampstead, which is on our regular exercise route.  It's a popular and welcoming spot but does get litter.  We keep hoping we'll find some ancient treasure while poking about under the bushes and behind tombstones, but the most interesting thing so far was an unopened tin of tomato soup, a nail file, some unopened jam and some scissors. I spent quite a while wondering what the story was behind that little hoard!    

We've also been exploring the old overspill Burial Ground next to the church, and over the months we've seen its flowers and wildlife change with the seasons, and noticed some of the striking or quaint  memorials.  I took this photo in the early summer, after this fine magnolia had finished flowering


A very prominent tomb is that of a carpenter's-son-turned-clockmaker who solved the problem of longitude in the 18th century.   This may sound a little academic, but until John Harrison invented a clock that kept accurate time at sea, the only accurate clocks had pendulums, and, these do not work at sea.  By enabling accurate navigation, Harrison transformed the whole business of sea travel and trade,  and, of course, saved countless lives.    


The Mark 4 portable chronometer, which he spent his life developing,  kept time to within three seconds a day.   I looked it up and found it resembled a huge pocket watch which ticked at five times a second and this picture below shows what a beautiful piece of work it was. The image is from the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, which is proudly selling great big prints of this and other beautiful instruments in its gift shop, (or would be if it was open, as I hope it soon will be again).     
 
I also discovered a lady called Eliza Acton buried at Hampstead.  She was the author of one of the best known cookery books of the 19th century, "Modern Cookery," which was only overtaken by Mrs. Beeton many years afterwards.  She also wrote a comprehensive book on bread, "The English Bread-Book."   Goodness know if there is such a thing as a historian of bread, but if so, then she's it.  I've linked to a facsimile here.  

I've looked at her recipes and am considering adding powdered ginger to my next loaf. That is because I like ginger, but she says a ginger loaf can be helpful for people with delicate digestions or upset stomachs, and was particularly useful for "coach journeys,"  apparently.    If you've ever been inside an 18th or 19th century coach, you'll understand why settling the stomach might have been needed. Just the idea of being crammed up inside one as it lurched endlessly over muddy, rutted roads! Ugh!  

The churchyard is also the burial place of Peter Llewellyn Davies, M.C. original inspiration for J.M. Barrie's "Peter Pan."    Below is an illustration from my rather battered copy of the original book Barrie wrote about him as a baby. (This is long before Wendy came on the scene, and introduced the Boy who Never Grew Up to the world).   In "Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens," Peter is a baby who believes he can fly. Because he believes in his own ability so firmly, he can really do it. Full of confidence, he flies to Kensington Gardens, only to learn from a crow that he is not able to fly after all....


Peter Llewellyn Davies'  life was a difficult one, and perhaps he might have been happier if, like Peter Pan, he'd never had to grow up but had lived a happy life somewhere away from the real world.  His parents both died before he was fourteen, and he brought up partly by J.M. Barrie, who was perhaps not the easiest of people to deal with. 

In the first world war, Llewellyn Davies was decorated with the Military Cross for bravery, and after the war, he established a successful publishing house. So he did his very best, but he had been badly scarred by his wartime experiences, and later developed a drinking problem.  Sadly, at the age of 63, he committed suicide after his wife and three children were all found to have inherited a devastating fatal disease.    He is buried near both his parents and two of his brothers. 

He was a cousin of the writer Daphne du Maurier, who is also buried here.  Daphne was the author of many extremely popular books, of which the most famous is probably "Rebecca" which Alfred Hitchcock made into a terrific film (I see it has also just been remade for Netflix by the amazing Ben Wheatley, which should also be worth watching). 
 
"Rebecca" is the story of a grand house and estate overshadowed by the still-felt presence of the deceased first wife of the owner, Mr. de Winter.  The second Mrs. de Winter does not find this to be an easy situation, and, naturally, nothing runs smoothly.  If you haven't seen Hitchcock's movie, here's a clip.  I must say I'd forgotten how well crafted his films were, so I am going to re-watch the whole thing. I'm going to re-read Du Maurier's novel, too.  


Another writer buried at Hampstead, and a big contrast to Daphne, was Eleanor Farjeon, a really, really familiar name in my childhood. Her huge output included not only original children's stories but also retellings of legends and old tales, poetry and verse.  (She was also friendly with many celebrated writers, including Robert Frost and D.H. Lawrence).    I saw her unusual name constantly at school, for she is associated with school for me, and always liked the things she wrote.  My favourite is a children's hymn,   "Morning has Broken" which she put with an old Scots Gaelic tune. Every time we sang her words at Assembly I relived the happy feeling you get on waking up on a summer morning in the holidays, with the feeling that the day belongs to you....  

In the 1970s, the hymn was taken up and became associated with 1970s singer Cat Stevens, but I prefer this version by folk singer Mary Hopkin,  Even better, I'd like to hear it sung by a group of little kids.  What do you think of the words?


If you're into great actors, there are several buried here.  One of the most celebrated is actor-manager Herbert Beerbohm Tree, grandfather of Oliver Reed, father of Carol Reed and one of the most famous theatrical figures of the Victorian age, specially for his interpretations of Shakespeare. It's hard to over-estimate what a towering figure he was on the Victorian and Edwardian theatre world.   Among his many achievements he founded the stage school RADA, which has trained many people you're going to have heard of.  (And even I have heard of, given that I have a terrible memory for that kind of thing) 

Gerald du Maurier, actor-manager, philanthropist and father of writer Daphne Du Maurier is also there, as is the Austrian actor Anton Walbrook, who fled to Britain in 1936. Walbrook is seen here in Stephen Fry's introduction to the British "Gaslight" film, (which is very interesting in itself.)  


Several artists also lie in this surprisingly small area of land.   In a far corner, this peaceful,  almost oriental figure stands by an old, ivy-clad wall and holding a fresh flower.  It commemorates the artist Randolph Schwabe.  


As the inscription says, Schwabe was for years a professor at the famous Slade School of Art.  His long career included quite a variety of artistic work,  including designing for Diaghilev's ballet company, book illustration and several years as an official war artist.
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 One of his war drawings, above, shows the area around Coventry Cathedral after the devastating air raids of 1940.  Doesn't it just show up the primitive, childish, pointless nature of war? The destruction is in such contrast to the careful skill of the drawing.  

There's also a beautiful stone commemorating Arthur Watts, an accomplished illustrator who died in a plane crash in 1935. I really love his illustrations, (some shown below) for their clever viewpoints, delightful use of colour and surprisingly contemporary feel. 


But the most famous artist interred in this burial ground has to be John Constable, who revolutionised landscape painting in the early 19th century. He lived in Hampstead for the last ten years of his life, even though he's usually associated with "Constable Country" the beautiful area of south Suffolk where he was born and raised.  Perhaps the most famous of these large works is "The Hay Wain,"  which most people in Britain seem to know.    If you are interested in art, here is an amusing talk by Colin Wiggins of the National Gallery about it which will tell you more about Constable.  


While he lived in Hampstead, Constable was raising his seven children alone and doing many outdoor landscape sketches from life on Hampstead Heath.  One shows a view which is instantly recognisable and very familiar to me. It is a vista of the valley between Hampstead and Highgate, with the distant skyline punctuated with the spire of St. Michael's church in  Highgate village. 


The photo below is taken very near to the viewpoint of the painting, although further down the hill  (and, at dawn).  We take this gravel track every time we travel from Hampstead to Highgate village and back.    Of course the trees are different now, and the photo was taken nearer to the hedge on the right than Constable's viewpoint.  

   Both villages are both around 450 ft, so first we have to climb up one hill, then go down across the valley to get to the other hill, and then back.  It's not exactly the Tour de France but it is reasonable exercise and Highgate is a nice place to look around.


 
When we go to Highgate on a sunny day, it's usually a nice little treat to have lunch on the lawn outside the cafe of the old mansion at Waterlow Park.   Here's a photo taken only last summer, which is set on the hillside and has a very interestingly designed garden stretching around it in all directions. 

It seems a long way away right now, in freezing cold, lockdown London!


 Still, now the vaccines are here, I feel more optimistic that it won't be long before we will be able to go back to that cafe again. They do great smoked salmon bagels and good coffee.  Fingers crossed. 
 

45 comments:

  1. Darling Jenny,

    It seems an absolute age since we were last connected in the Blogosphere. So much has changed in that time, not just in Blogland but on a global scale which would have been unimaginable just a year ago.

    Still, there are positive signs of moving forward and, as you write, Spring seems just around the corner with so many tiny signs of life around.

    Burial grounds have long fascinated us. There are several in Budapest containing elaborate and monumental mausoleums, all of which look totally magical on All Souls' Day or 'The Day of the Dead'. Then, hundreds of candles light up the memnto mor, a sight which never fails to move us.

    It is good to hear that you have been vaccinated, at least once. We await Sputnik! Take and continue to stay safe and well.

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  2. I am buried in Work From Home-we don't say lock down in the US, but it kind of is for those of us taking it serious, though we can go to stores, socially distanced, and for stupid sake, the restaurants and bars have 50% capacity. I wont' be there. The distance learning is having a hard impact on parents and teens, I think younger kids just go with the flow better. I have two great nieces who have missed most of their senior years, and my daughters friends last year that were a year younger (my daughter is the youngest of 46 cousins so some of her cousins kids are close to her age)

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  3. What a gorgeous blog post! As always.
    I had to stop myself from becoming totally immersed in Ms. Acton's bread book. My goodness! And by the way- I have begun making muffins with grated ginger in them (and generally apple, carrot, and raisin as well) and they are delicious!
    On a side note- we did watch the Netflix version of "Rebecca" and it can't hold a candle to Hitchcock's. I was disappointed.
    Happy birthday to the twins and thank you for rambling and for writing and for your lovely, lovely photos.

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  4. Love that cemetery shot.

    I did a few family zoom session at first, but I spend every damned weekday doing telemedicine appoints, hour after hour, and the last thing I want to do in the evenings or on the weekends is get back in front of my computer camera.

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  5. Good to know y'all have your first vaccine shots!
    Happy Birthday Twins!
    Being too young for the early round of vaccinations gives me no comfort to feel younger. Soon to get my shot is comforting for me.
    Lovely cemetery, the headstones in a meadow give the place a comforting vibe.

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  6. The scissors are used to puncture the tin of soup so that it may be drunk cold, the nail-file enables the jam to be scooped up as dessert. Surprised you didn't know this, Jenny. (See: RR's Book of Graveyard Meals, published 2020.)

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  7. Well, you may have been quiet recenty, but this dam burst from you was most welcome...I had the urge to get on a 'plane and visit the bburial ground and take the walk to Highgate....so hope that in the not too distant future I will be able to do so.
    The situation here is much more fluid than it seems in the U.K....but then we have fresh air, sunshine and space to keep us happy.

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  8. Wow that's a lot of history buried all in the same graveyard!
    I actually reread 'Rebecca' on Kindle last year. Must look for that new film on Netflix.
    Mary Hopkin is an old favourite of mine, I had one of her albums on vinyl back in my teens (Earth Song/Ocean Song) (and I did not have a very big collection back then so those that I had got played a lot). I later also had it transferred to mp3/CD. That song is not on it, though. But I remember it with Cat Stevens.
    I have not been vaccinated yet. They started here with old people living in care homes or with home care, and staff involved in such care as well. As I'm under 70 I'm not sure yet when it will be my turn, it depends a bit on how they will be categorizing other risk groups I suppose. As we're having really cold winter weather just now I don't really mind waiting a while longer (as long as I don't have to go anywhere else either!)

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  9. Hello Jenny, In my opinion, Hitchcock's version of Rebecca was pure genius. Daphne Du Maurier was great at creating a cast of interesting characters, and a plot to put them in motion, but was not quite up to the actual writing of the novel.

    I loved the tour of the cemetery. Such a concentration of talent in British history!
    --Jim

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  10. OMGosh! This post is just packed with information and interesting links! So much history in that cemetery and if I were walking through I would need a guide because I knew so little of this.
    I do kind of remember the old version of Rebecca. Must have seen it half a century ago...literally...on an afternoon movie on TV. I shall look for the new version.
    I had not heard anyone but Cat Stephens sing that song and had no idea it was a children's hymn! Her voice is beautiful. Always loved the song.
    Vaccinations aren't easy to get here yet. Depends on which state and city you live in until they get ore organized. When I can get mine, I will.
    Have a fantastic week, Jenny! :)

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  11. They are fascinating places.. thank you for sharing.
    We are managing ok, missing family...sixteen months and counting since we saw anyone.
    Sleep is not as it should be..but we are working on that.
    We are finding too much to do, if anything...now we are cleaning and selling surplus bike bits on fleabay, more room, savings for when we can travel...and not travelling means that himself will hopefully be debt free before too long!

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  12. You certainly made up for your absence with this post, Jenny! It's great! :)

    Firstly...because I live a reclusive life-style, by choice, at all times, Covid restrictions haven't changed my day to day existence in any way. I have no family...there is just my two furry housemates, and they are indoor cats just like I am. I don't Zoom...never have. As I said, I always pretty much keep to myself, so same old, same old. Lee, the Hermit, I am! :)

    That is a sad story about Peter Llewllyn Davies.

    I watched the latest version of "Rebecca" on Netflix a couple of months ago. It's okay...but not as good as the original 1940 movie version starring Sir Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine and Judith Anderson...in my opinion. Back in 1963, when I was a teenager, I was a member of the local, little Drama Group in my hometown, Gympie...and had a role in the play...I also helped with the costuming.

    I prefer Mary Hopkins to Cat Stevens...always have.

    I used to love Oliver Reed...he had such a presence about him.

    Thank you for a most interesting post, Jenny...take good care...I hope all is well with you and your loved ones...and continues being that way. :)

    Vaccinations haven't yet started here in Australia, but they're not far away from starting the jabs.

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  13. Hullo Jenny, what a wonderful post! I adore the birthday party with all the soft toys and the mice in your Peter Pan book. Do you remember Dava Sobel's book "Longitude"? It seemed to have swept the world at the time of its publication and John Harrison finally got the fame he rightly deserved.

    I follow another blog, The London Dead, which explores the stories behind the characters that lie in the many cemeteries around London, which is thus both armchair travel and time travel. You are doing an excellent service in helping to maintain this fabulous burial ground, and making friends with its inhabitants by lingering companionably.

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  14. The Hay Wain was six feet across! For years I lived with a reproduction of the picture in my bedroom. It was at least three feet across. How I loved it. One of my children has it now.

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  15. The Burial Ground next to the church is peaceful, green and unmodernised, so it is great being able to see its flowers and wildlife blossom. My only question is: do the growing grasses and plants, along with their bugs and other creepy crawlies, damage the inscriptions?

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  16. As always with your great posts, there is far too much in it for me to comment on everything - I don't know where to start :-)
    The current lockdown here in Germany is much stricter than what we had all of last year, including a curfew that binds us to the house from 8:00 pm to 5:00 am. Not that I would be inclined to go out during that time - restaurants, pubs etc. are not open anyway - but it puts things on a rather tight schedule for visiting my parents after work or having my sister over for a meal in the evening.
    Of course we know how fortunate we are, too; nobody in my immediate circle has lost their job, or caught the virus.
    You have probably heard on the news how badly the vaccination campaign is going in Germany. Too little, too late, and a logistic and organisational desaster. Good job my parents are so sensible and keep within their bubble, not seeing anyone apart my sister and I and their friend who lives in the same house, a retired nurse.

    Snowdrops really lift the spirit, don't they! I spotted the first ones of this season last weekend, and was so happy about it I had to skip along on the pavement for a bit, in my welies and heavy padded winter coat.

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  17. I’m happy for you, Jenny, that you and T got vaccinated. My turn is likely to be April at the earliest. British burial ground in the precinct of church always looks atmospheric (like #4 image). Such concentration of the famous people in that ground! Hitchcock’s Rebecca is intriguing. I love good quality mysteries. The twins must have pretty grown up. I think I know your feeling about the twins. Here school is continuously open since last June, so F and two Ys enjoy school life, which makes me happy, too. I’m not pessimistic but not so optimistic like you, but I simply keep routine including going to gym and English conversation lesson with all the precautions. Take care.

    Yoko

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  18. What a treasure of a post. So much to read and enjoy. I have to go back and pick up on some bits now!

    No sign of vaccine where I live, despite being eligible among the earliest. So we shelter and hope!

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  19. Well there was a huge amount to digest there. Very enjoyable as always. I will just concentrate of one thing that struck me which was the solving of the problem of Longitude. There is an excellent book I bought a few years ago called "Longitude" The true story of a lone genius who solved the greatest scientific problem of his time. It's by Dava Sobel.

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  20. I've read that even if you are vaccinated you can still get the virus and give it to someone else even though you will not be ill with it yourself. I'm not due to get mine for a while, but I certainly will when I can.

    And yes I can relate to your lack of desire to blog etc. I'm glad I'm not on Facebook as that would feel like yet another pressure that I can do without. Even zoom calls are becoming dull to me. I haven't got anything to say!

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    1. It can be very hard to choose a suitable birthday card for friends, don't you think, when nobody does anywhere or does anything. You just can't think of anything that your friends have being doing lately! Or least that has been my experience :)

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  21. Jenny, there is so much to love in this post that I should just not even comment but send an email! But one thing I know for sure -- next England trip you must show me this fabulous cemetery. I love cemeteries like this and all the more interesting when you know the people who are there. Herbert Beerbohm Tree would be worth the visit in itself (well, that and Peter Llewellyn Davies). I didn't realize Tree and the Reeds were of the same family. And Peter... Did you see the film "Finding Neverland"? I don't know how much fiction was added in but it s exquisite, regardless (as is the musical based on the film.) And Eleanor Farjeon! Is her brother there, too (J. Jefferson -- I have quite a few of his mysteries which are very clever.) And Constable! Oh! Remember the Constable at Kenwood? Sigh. And the DuMauriers? The Stephen Fry piece was interesting -- yes, check out Hitchcock's Rebecca first. I'd love to see that version of "Gaslight."

    Loved the Mary Hopkin -- One time long ago at a funeral we were killing time before it started and while thumbing through the hymnal I found that. Who knew? Hers is a beautiful version.

    So sorry about the Twins' birthday party but I think for the best. Even after the vaccines kick in we'll have to be careful. I'm in the same dilemma with Carson's fourth. Frustrating -- and for the best.... But you have the shot and the second soon and that's huge!

    Oh, it's good to see you here! And wonderful photos and history too!

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  22. Thanks for delighting us with another interesting post. I'm really surprised that spring flower bulbs are already sprouting in London. Here in rural Tennessee we presently have ice and light snow - with no discernible promise of spring flowers.

    I never knew that Llywellyn Davies was a cousin of Daphne du Maurier. "Rebecca" has always been one of my favorite films - a true classic. I used to have a copy of the novel, but it was lost (among many other books) when I moved to TN.

    The photo of the Oriental-like statue holding the flower is so beautiful and striking!

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    1. Yes, Jon, the statue caught my eye too. At first I thought it must be Buddhist and wondered what it was doing there but I have come to the conclusion it was a beautiful work of art, and possibly one he designed himself. Now a couple more weeks, (well, nearly) have passed, I hope that the iron grip of winter is starting to show signs of thawing in TN. Snow and frost can be picturesque but my heart does always lift when nature starts to show signs of spring.

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  23. What a wonderful, wonderful post. So full of interesting things. Thank you for this walk. I am a fan of cemeteries, but your cemeteries are so much older than the ones here.

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    1. Thanks Debby. Yes, I am inclined to agree, an old cemetery is more interesting than a new one, partly because the old gravestones are often ancient enough to suggest a very different way of life to what we have now, and give a sense of continuity.

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  24. I've also been vaccinated, but as LL Cool Joe says, I can still catch the virus or pass it on, so I'm still observing all the safety measures. Lockdown isn't too bad for me and Jenny, as we're both introverts and very capable of amusing ourselves at home.

    An interesting note on John Harrison and his invention of a reliable maritime clock. Nowadays of course we take such things entirely for granted. That's a wonderful illustration from the original Peter Pan book. Ditto the illustrations by Arthur Watts.

    But what a sad ending for Peter Llewellyn Davies' life. I can't imagine how devastating it would be to find out that your wife and three children have all inherited a fatal disease.

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    1. Yes, it was very sad that Peter Llewellyn Davies met such an end. He must have felt life wasn't worth living. I am glad you have your vaccine. I heard the figures in NI are rather high at present although I am sure they will come down, but I am glad you're being safe.

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  25. I've missed your blogs, Jenny. This was a lovely one. I feel as if I've been on a tour of Hampstead and environs. Lovely because I grew up around there too.

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    1. Oh how strange, I wrote a reply and it's gone! It was about always thinking about Rotterdam in the snow since we visited a few years ago when there was unseasonable snow and ice - quite unexpected, at least by us, and we didn't have the clothing for it at all!!!!!

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  26. What a great post Jenny. I love your rambles around Hampstead, and would love to go there and enjoy it myself. It is incredible that you can find the exact viewpoint for Constable's painting, and the church spire is still there in the distance. Happy Birthday to the twins, from our little twinnies. So pleased you have your first vaccination, and I wish the UK well in containing the pandemic. No word yet on our roll-out, but soon.

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    1. I hope you will get out here someday Patricia. The pandemic seems to have put a lid on most peoples travel fantasies, let alone their plans, but surely we will be able to travel the world again eventually! Meanwhile good luck with getting a vaccine soon, I feel it can't be long now and it sounds as if Oz has it all under reasonably good control.

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  27. The inability to read has hung over me for a while. I stopped reading in LockDwn and I expected to read more. Back to some normality now, but a strange lethargy comes with being indoors. Routine has changed a wee bit and lethargy results.
    Glad you are happy with the vaccine, hope the 2nd comes early for you.
    Missing the twins must be hard, the Gestapo might let you visit once you have been vaccinated twice.

    You are so lucky to have that churchyard on your exercise route. John Constable among them. I once took a picture of the 'Hay Wain' site, about 20 years ago, but it appears to have vanished. It looks very similar but much different today, if you see what I mean.
    Seven kids? No wonder he died!
    Fabulous sights to see there. Such opportunities for pictures all year round.
    Not sure I fancy clambering up and down over the hills mind.

    Great post again. However I demand one more regularly....



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    1. Many many years ago I actually stayed in Willy Lott's cottage, which I believe is part of the house in the picture, I was doing a course with the Field Studies Council and that was part of the accommodation, a bit youth hostel style. At that time they obviously hadn't modernised it much since about 1830 and really I have never stayed anywhere so damp and uncomfortable my whole life!!! I will try to post more regularly but I'm not doing very well so far, it looks like, almost halfway through Feb already!

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  28. Mercy, but when you do find time to write, you teach me so much my head is spinning! Wonderful post, it's great to hear from you, and i do hope your vaccination goes well.

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    1. Thank you Jackie, it has given me a little more confidence and broadened life out a little, though I am still being mighty careful! I've been caring for the twins recently so not reading blogs (I usually read even if I don't write) so I'll head over in your direction to see what you and your family and customers have been up to in the last week or so!

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  29. As always, we learn the simple things were the biggest things. Nice to find you are doing well under the circumstances! There have been so many missed in-person events never to return. There is now so much reliance on technology to stay in touch and get creative. In one year alone so many people were buried, the well and the little known. Life threatened seems more stark and the coming vaccines, not widely available in my neck-of-the-woods yet, become our biggest hope.

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    1. I've heard that vaccine rollout is a bit slow in Canada, Penelope, but hopefully there isn't quite so much opportunity to be in close and potentially dangerous contact in your part of BC, as in some overcrowded city. But I hope you get your jab soon. It doesn't instantly protect, but definitely gives some feeling that things are on the up!

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  30. Love your friendly post Jenny - love your pic of the cemetery.
    I have lived alone for nigh on six years, my lovely hubs being in a care home, so the lockdown(s) are not much of a change to me in that respect.
    I do however, miss the hugs (and hugging) from all those that I love - haven't hugged my grandson since early August and haven't been able to visit my hubs for nigh on a year.
    Hopefully this year will bring changes for the better...
    Anna :o]

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    1. Thank you, Anna. It is very tough on you and hubs not to be able to meet. We know someone in that position also and it seems so frustrating. She had the idea of volunteering to help in the home that he was in, but it didn't turn out to be practical. I hope this year is better, too.

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  31. I'm considered an "essential worker" and so have been on the job throughout the entire epidemic. My biggest problem so far is the face mask causes my glasses to fog up.

    That's some cemetery by where you live! Ever watch the movie Finding Neverland with Johnny Depp? It's about J. M. Barrie and the family that inspired Peter Pan. It's very good.

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    1. Thanks, Kirk. As for foggy glasses, there's a gel which helps a lot. It seems to work better than wipes, spray or a liquid. There are various names for it, like Pro Gear, etc. But the point seems to be that it being a gel is what does the trick the most. I never watched Finding Neverland. When it came out someone said something that really put me off it, but trouble is I can't remember WHAT. So perhaps it's time to give it a go!!

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  32. Jenny,
    I'm glad you got the first vaccine, so you're optimistic as you write. Here we have no enough vaccine and are in a queue.
    I liked very much the you-tube video with a talk by Colin Wiggins about Constable, my famous painter. What a nice thing to see snowdrops pushing their buds out. Spring comes soon.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Nadezda - I hope you've had your vaccine by now. of course it doesn't make us totally safe, and I am still careful but it is a great relief to have it. I hope that you will see the first shy spring flowers soon!

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  33. Goodness what a fabulous post today. I have enjoyed reading every part of it.
    I am still waiting to be called for my vaccine and I am in the over the 75+ group. My children have me in complete lockdown. I am used to the quiet being house bound for about 4 years now but I must say I am tired of the whole mess.
    Hope you are well and I do so enjoy your blog. Write when you can.
    cheers

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