My Own Personal Grey

London Travelogue, Day the Second

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So, after rising from our squeaky bed and taking showers in the large, but inconveniently shelfless shower, Mr. Kat and I head out for brekkie, which is finally had at a little sandwich shop called the Gran Sasso on Caledonian Street near King’s Cross. They have free WiFi and the prices for small but tasty food and coffee are very good. (We have already discovered that London is Very Expensive–also having a heat wave of upper seventies temps and rather full of black soot that settles on your skin and up your nose.)

After breakfast and WiFi, we head for the Canal Museum, of which I take no pics–what am I thinking?–but get many notes and ideas for Book 4. We then walk near, but not next to, the canal–since the tow path is closed for remodeling–past a “grade 1 listed building” (historically significant) which turns out to be a very pretty iron work gas storage register from the 1860s, and on to find St. Pancras Old Church.

Which has an interesting graveyard and a clock.

But what’s really interesting about Old St. Pankers is that it’s been… umm… remodeled. See…there’s this railroad right behind it (that goes to St. Pancras station oddly enough) and back in the 19th Century, they had to dig up the graves and move them around in order to build said railroad. And there are several odd memorials that seem to have been moved to St. Pancras as well as the odd arrangement of graves from those that were there to begin with. Like….

The Tomb of Sir John Soanes and his wife and son:

Which looks remarkably like a phone box .

There are several things about Old St. Pancras that make one wonder if they really did move all those bones….

Like the Hardy Tree: which has an interesting sign (you can click on the sign to get a larger version to read.) . Which says, basically, that the illustrious Mr Hardy once worked in the graveyard, shifting bones and stones and this was the result:
Yup,that’s literally hundreds of gravestones dating back a good long time, made into a sunburst design around the roots of a big ol’ ash tree that has, through the years, grown down into the stacked up stones.

Take a look at the other side of the tree and you can see the stones go all the way around, 3 – 4 ranks deep: That’s a lot of dead people and I sort of think, packed in like that, they didn’t all bring their little old bonesies along with them. I wonder where Mr. Hardy left them…

Maybe near this interesting feature beside the railroad wall:
I called this the Gravestone Parade, and it’s not even the weirdest sight in the cemetery, just one of the ones that photographs well. Here are a couple of the more interesting stones in the parade:

There is also a paving of tombstones, including one shaped like a full-sized coffin, and a lot of sunken, shifted, tilted, and broken stones, as well as several walls of and “end blocks” of marker slabs. Definitely a place to stop on any tomb tour.

Jim gets very cranky after I force him to sit through the canal museum while I take notes and buy books, then walk all the way over to the backside of St. Pancras, so we go up past Mornington Crescent in Camden Town for… Pie and a Pint at a pub called Belushi’s. And Jim takes my picture which he tries to show off.
but misses in the shuffle.

Then we walk back down to Mornington Crescent tube station and head off to New Bond Street to look for Will’s place of work: Sotheby’s auction house. We find it after a salmon-swimming-upstream experience at Oxford Circus station and more swimming through the rush hour crowds.

As we near the quarry, the crowds thin miraculously until… by 4:55, New Bond is a ghost town, with only the sound of keys in locks and our own footsteps on the pavement.

Really tired, we head around the corner to Oxford and Regent’s Street and find… crowds galore as the evacuees from New Bond and the rest of Oxford Circus area have all settled on the sidewalks in front of pub with pints of beer. We head into a coffee bar before any of them can contemplate needing sobriety and manage to cop a couple of comfy chairs in a Caffe Nero–one of what we eventually discover to be innumerable coffee chains, a-la Seattle, in London. I find a faceless dog on the wall of a club,
and think we should call it a day.

More beer, more food and off to bed for Day 3….!

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