The Book of Life, The Good Place & Kensal Green Cemetery

The first half of my week off was fairly slow but I had a really good time nonetheless. I’ll not lie, Monday and Tuesday was mostly spent catching up on boring housework and the necessary things we all have to do. I may have also spent some time sat on my bum watching tv but I think that’s allowed!

I watched The Book of Life on recommendation from friends after I wrote about seeing Coco last week. I loved this movie too! It was a similar kind of idea and theme, but a different style on animation and a little more fun adventure than a tear jerking tale. I can thoroughly recommend The Book of Life too to those who haven’t seen it.

The Book of Life

I also managed to watch pretty much the entirety of The Good Place, all bar the final episode of which is released on Netflix tomorrow. The Good Place is a series which follows Eleanor Shellstrop (played by Kristen Bell) who finds herself deceased and in a strange place a lot like what we think of heaven. It has two seasons on Netflix and if you like a light hearted comedy with some dark undertones and some lessons in morality then give it a go!

The Good Place

Yesterday afternoon I headed to Kensal Green cemetery in North London with my friend Laura D. Kensal Green was the first of the large Victorian cemeteries known as the Magnificent Seven. These cemeteries were built in order to counteract the inner city overflowing and bursting grave sites that were causing numerous problems. Kensal Green was established in 1833 and now covers 72 acres.

The front gate at Kensal Green

From first impression, the cemetery is incredible. Imagine a huge mausoleum with a big iron door and then imagine it’s surrounded by a dozen others on either side. In some places there are grand graves squished up together so tightly there is no space between them. There are newer, smaller graves squeezed into gaps here and there so that navigating through them is a challenge. At one point I found myself apologising to whoever might be below my feet because I was traversing through trying to see some of the commonwealth war graves. Other areas are more open and spacious, it rolls around gentle hills and large structures loom about left right and centre. One on side there is a canal which you can see through a fence with pretty canal boats taking residence. At the front gate is a little hut with a fluffy and friendly black cat hanging around, of course I took the time to say hello to him!

I always make friends with the cats I see….

The cemetery is a wonderful place. We found ourselves discussing poignantly if it would be right that a cemetery like this should or would become a tourist attraction of a sort? We saw a couple of other people walking about, may have had something to do with the temperature and time of year however, but other than that we were the only people there. Although, it did feel like they didn’t want to attract people like us who want to wander about and have a look. There was no clear way around or indication of where the more ‘famous’ graves were, Isambard Kingdom Brunel is there somewhere but goodness knows if we could find him in the maze of graves, mausoleums and headstones!

Gravestones as far as the eye can see!

I guess it would be frowned upon if people flocked to a place such as this. Interestingly, John Loudon who famously designed Brompton cemetery (another of the Magnificent Seven), inspired the design of many others and who wrote about the cemeteries of the time is buried at Kensal Green. Laura D and I have agreed to try and visit all seven this year, some of the others are more challenging for various reasons but we will give it a go!

As always, if you have any thoughts on anything I’ve discussed let me know. 1/7 down, I have been to two other the others previously a long time ago now but I’ll happily revisit them. Watch this space!

MG x

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