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Highgate

A very slow start to the last couple of days.
Both mornings were spent just lazing around Greenwich.
I did my usual daily trip to P&B for coffee followed by a wander through Greenwich Market.
On Tuesday we caught the tube to Archway then the bus up Highgate Hill.
There is a marked difference between the bottom of Highgate Hill to the bottom.
Highgate is a rather affluent area in North London. Up until late Victorian times it was a village situated outside what was then London. It is very Georgian in style and has been/still is home to many famous residents (Michael faraday, George Eliot, Victoria Wood, Sting, Rod Stewart, Julian Barnes, Jude Law, Kate Moss, Samuel Taylor-Coleridge, J.B. Priestly, too many to list......)

We got off the bus just outside Waterlow Park and went for a walk. the park was gorgeous. The red autumnal leaves contrasting with the vivid, almost luminous green of the grass. It has been a public park since 1889 when is was given to the public by Sir Sydney Waterlow.

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As we walked through the park we met a young couple who had just got engaged and asked us to take a photo of them. They seemed a bit of a mismatch, she was like Vivienne Leigh and he was more Charles Laughton than Laurence Olivier but I'm sure he's a lovely guy and she isn't as shallow as I am.

We came out of the other side of the park next to Highgate Cemetery.

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We had a short walk around the eastern side of the cemetery where Karl Marx is buried before joining a guided tour of the west side. I also noticed Bruce Reynolds was buried here, he of the Great Train Robbery infamy.

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Highgate cemetery is a Victorian cemetery, opened in 1839 and is now heritage listed. There have been many myths surrounding it over the years, ghosts, vampires etc even making it to newspaper reports. This grew with various reports of sightings culminating in a mass vampire hunt which was filmed by ITV. There were so many people wishing to join the hunt that despite the police attempting to keep them out, they climbed the walls and gates of the cemetery to get in - had too many drugs I'm thinking.

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It had fallen into disrepair and a small group of local residents would go in on Sundays to try and keep it in some kind of order and stop it from becoming completely overgrown. They became The Friends of Highgate Cemetery and eventually bought the cemetery. The only way to visit the western Cemetery now is by guided tour, run by the Friends, who are all volunteers. This helps to raise the money to keep the cemetery and the restoration work they are carrying out.

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The cemetery is certainly atmospheric. Both the Eastern and western sides are still working cemetery's and there are a couple of places where you are asked not to take photos's. One being the grave of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko, who was killed by polonium poisoning in 2006. His family have requested no photos, which is fair enough. My particular favourite was the grave of Thomas Sayer, a bare knuckle fighter. They reckon the turnout for his funeral rivalled that of Nelson's and the line of mourners went from the cemetery down to .......... His grave had a stone effigy of his pet mastiff laying across it.

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After the tour we made our way back to Greenwich and popped into Paul Rhodes bakery for a hot chocolate before heading back to the flat. I'm loving the late afternoons when it's dark and dizzily outside but you're a warm and snugly inside looking out the window. Lights on in the shop windows, the old style lamps lighting the wet pavements as people bustle by going about their daily business.

Another lazy morning on Wednesday, in fact a lazy day. All we did all day was go to the pictures to see Mr Turner. The cinematography was beautiful, they made the scenes look just like a Turner painting. I love Mike Leigh's films for their quirkiness and this was no exception. Turner was certainly not your average man in the street, but then I guess that's why he created such extraordinary paintings. Loved the film, love Mike Leigh, love JMW Turner.

Posted by RUMissingUsYet 01:08

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I think the slow mornings mean you are starting to slow down and really relax - good for you! Admittedly it makes it harder to go back to work later...but that's something to think about later! Thank goodness for Sir Sydney, the park is glorious and I love the overgrown-ness of the cemetery

by Elizabeth

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