A visit to Brompton Cemetery

Brompton Cemetery

I have always enjoyed wandering around cemeteries, the older the better. Perhaps it’s because I was a history major at university. And while some find cemeteries morbid or sad or depressing, I find them peaceful and uplifting. They provide me an important reminder about the fragile and finite nature of human life, and the many, many people who have lived and died before me. They make my day-to-day troubles shrink in importance. Perspective.

So, I often visit cemeteries when I travel (e.g. my earlier posts of New Orleans – here and here). It was no different in London last October. I wanted to get to two or three of the city’s “Magnificent Seven” Victorian cites. I made it to just one – Brompton Cemetery – and it was worth the walk.

Brompton Cemetery sign

I took the Brompton Cemetery entrance sign to heart.

Brompton has beautifully trimmed pathways (attractively strewn with colourful autumn leaves) that divide the cemetery space. Some grave markers are well manicured, but they are beside entire sections so overgrown with tall grass and vines, they’re partially (or totally) obscured. I enjoy the variety of grave stones, admiring the design details, reading the inscriptions.

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Love all those angels:

Brompton buildings are lovely too, and provided me some much-needed shade on a bright sunny day.

But I don’t just visit cemeteries abroad; I also make a point of revisiting family grave sites whenever I’m in Alberta. On a trip there last year, I popped in at the Coronation Town Cemetery and went with my aunts and uncles to visit the Cadogen Lutheran Cemetery (pictured below).

Cadogen Lutheran Cemetery

Cadogen Lutheran Cemetery

I love the big skies and gently rolling farmland. Quite, peaceful and pretty. This piece of land was the corner of my Norwegian great-great grandparents original farm, donated for the purpose of a community cemetery.


Let’s hear it for a “working” holiday in London

Hammersmith Bridge over Thames

Afternoon on the Thames, overlooking Hammersmith Bridge

For one brief, shining moment (last October), my freelance life actually worked out somewhat in the way I planned.

When I began as a freelance communications specialist four years ago, I had visions of taking my work with me, supporting myself while travelling to interesting locations (both foreign and domestic). I’ve managed to have a taste of this in the past, but last October (yes, I’m just writing about it now – don’t judge me), I spent an entire month in London, UK with friends, while keeping up with my work. It was just as wonderful as I had always imagined.

Hammersmith tube station

Hammersmith Tube station

I’ve been to London before, but usually only for a few days on my way somewhere else. It’s a city where, at any one time, I know at least one or two people living there. (This is what happens when you’re from one former British colony – Canada – and lived almost 5 years in another – New Zealand. Almost everyone you know eventually shows up in London.)

So, what did I do with my month, you ask? Well, and perhaps surprisingly, I actually did quite a lot of paid work for my clients back home. (Though admittedly, I certainly didn’t work all day, every day.) I went on day trips. I wandered around museums and galleries. I took a mini-break to Bristol, and popped over to Hamburg to visit a friend I hadn’t seen in a decade.

Pints in Southwark Tavern

Pints in Southwark Tavern

And it all started with a couple of pints of local beer in the Southwark Tavern with my lovely hosts, watching the All Blacks crush the US team in the Rugby World Cup (I did live in New Zealand, after all). Suffice it to say, I felt like I was living the life I have dreamed of. Just for a month. It was a very good moment for me.

More details and pictures of my explorations to come!

Signspotting: We’ll have none of that dancing in your seats, people!

As I sort though travel photos from previous trips, I’ve recently noticed that I’ve taken a number of photos of signs – traffic and road signs, safety signs, store signs, etc. Some I enjoy for their typeface fonts (yes, I’m that kind of nerd), and others for their nonsensical nature. Some are just incomprehensible.

So I’ve decided that, from time to time, I’ll be sharing some “signspotting” entries.

First up, it’s a sign we got to know well during the recent trip to Disneyland:

Disney Safety Sign

Disney Safety Sign

Rather than it being interpreted as a warning to not stand up and to keep your arms and legs safely tucked inside while on the ride, my 5-year-old niece understood it as “no dancing allowed”. Looks more like a sign for “no dancing in your seats” to me.

Either way, it was a source of tremendous amusement for our entire journey 🙂

Sometimes even I need to sink my toes in the sand

I sunburn easily. I already have too many freckles. I have light blue eyes, so I squint a lot in the sun. And I come from pale Norwegian and Scottish stock, with redheaded relatives as part of the pack – so, in fact, I’m just not genetically inclined toward strong sunshine. I prefer moderate, temperate weather. I enjoy my vast collection of sweaters and cardigans and winter coats and scarves.

So, as one might expect, I’m not a huge sun and sand person. (I’ve said it before but it bears repeating.)

But occasionally, even I dream of sunshine and palm trees. Like today, when the Weather Network’s forecast for the foreseeable future is “feels like -16” or worse:

December 2014 weather

On days like this, I want to run away and wear sandals somewhere that looks like this:

Los Angeles palms

Los Angeles palms

Or this:

Methinks my escape to New Orleans in late January can’t come too soon! Anyone else planning a sun-filled escape anytime soon?