Lyme Park

 

Yesterday’s sunshine provided the perfect opportunity to pay a long overdue visit to Lyme Park, a National Trust stately home in Cheshire. I’ve spent many sunny summer afternoons on picnics here, as well as many snowy ones sledging in the winter! It had been a while since I’d visited the house and gardens, and I really enjoyed wandering amongst the sweeping lawns, fountains and manicured flower beds. The house itself is likewise a grand spectacle, featuring elaborate tapestries, paintings and furnishings. My favourite room by far is the library, which is dressed in ¬†velvet wall paper and heavy ruby coloured drapes. Squashy old armchairs and chaise longues sit patiently waiting for someone to make a home of them with the partner of one the hundreds of books lining the walls. Unfortunately, this can only be admired from afar and photographs aren’t allowed, but I can always dream…

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Crossbones Graveyard

I’ve lived in Southwark for the past nine months now, and have spent many afternoons exploring the local area. Last Sunday, however, I came across something that I’d never even heard of before.
I’d turned left off Union Street onto Redcross Way, a quiet little lane leading to Southwark Street. A few paces down the way, I noticed an iron gate adorned with colourful ribbons, pictures, poems and trinkets. Having read a few of the accompanying information banners and spoken to a local who stopped to tell me about it, I gathered that the site was actually a burial ground for ‘The Outcast Dead’, dating back to the 16th Century.
‘The Outcast Dead’ essentially refers to the vast number of prostitutes (known as the ‘Winchester Geese’) who populated the slums of Southwark and Borough, and later included paupers, until the graveyard was closed in the mid 1800s. Coffins were buried 10 deep, resulting in a estimated 15,000 bodies resting there.
However, this was disturbed in 1990s when the site was excavated in order to construct the Jubilee Line. John Constable, a local writer, revived the Cross Bones story in 1996 with his cycle of poems, The Southwark Mysteries, which have since been performed in both Southwark Cathedral and Shakespeare’s Globe.
There have been recent campaigns to transform the land into a memorial garden, the support of which can be seen in the photo’s below. I found it really fascinating to learn about, although I’m not quite sure I’ll be making it to the procession next Halloween. I’d much rather be tucked up at home like the scaredy-cat I am, than out haunting an ancient graveyard of long forgotten, wronged women…

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26th May – It’s Only For Now

An old man sits in a quiet church garden,
He’s here to find calm, he’s here to be pardoned.
He closes his eyes as the sun holds him in
An embrace of golden warmth that forgives his sins.

The wind whispers and sighs in his old ears,
Worn out by the decades, but they can still hear
The tales of his youth, those long forgotten days;
He can still recall words his love used to say.

“Don’t worry, my darling, it’s only for now-
I’ll fix your worries, some way, somehow.”
But death took his love, all that time ago and
That day, his heart was dealt was dealt a fatal blow.

Yet time moved on, and time began to heal.
Eventually, he once more began to feel
Good in his heart, and joy in his life
As he laid to rest the memories of his beloved wife.

He picked himself up, dusted off his clothes,
Found strength once more, and regained his repose.
Now he’s back in the garden where they used to lie,
Reminiscing alone on better days gone by.

25th May – A Person is a Person

I don’t understand
Why people preach hate
And believe that by doing this,
They will reach heaven’s gates.

I don’t understand
How the world is smeared with blood,
Through actions justified
With the reason of ‘Love’.

If ‘Love’ for a country,
Or ‘Love’ for a race
Condones one man killing another,
Then surely there’s no hope for faith.

Because a person is a person,
No matter who they are,
And no being deserves
To bare the wounds and scars

Of violence and hatred,
And of death and war.
It won’t be very long,
Before humanity can’t take any more.