The end of October has been cold hasn’t it? Really chillingly cold. I’ve been hiding under a blanket when not out and about, and the change in weather seems to have made work very interesting. I can always tell that the number of deaths has risen, not necessarily by the number of post-mortems but definitely by the number of viewing requests we have. A year ago I was terrified of walking in the waiting room with the relatives, but one year on and I only get a little nervous now. You honestly don’t know what waits for you with viewings, some people don’t want to chat they just want to see their relative and that’s perfectly normal. Other people don’t want you to leave their side for the entire time they are in the room. I’ve become accustomed to both types. Some people want to see them and then walk out again, not even in the room for minutes. Other people stay beyond their allotted appointment time and we sometimes have to tell them their time is up because we have to prepare for the next viewing to take place. It’s a time consuming but very important part of the job.
All this week I have been looking forward to the weekend immensely. Not just because I had Friday off (I’m up to my 4 day week antics again I’m afraid, I’ve got three in a row!) but also because today I had a very exciting tour in my diary. Laura D and I headed to Speaker’s Corner this morning and joined several others for a walk around Hyde Park with two tour guides called Jonathan and Myra.
Looking out of Speaker’s Corner towards Marble Arch and the original Tyburn Gallows site
Interesting choice of the Star Wars font for the Animals In War Memorial…
The tour began on the corner there near Marble Arch, we were told something I never knew before that this was the site of Tyburn where the gallows stood for centuries. First we came out of the park and visited the Animals In War Memorial on Park Lane. From there we walked through the park, the wide flat area of the many festivals and Winter Wonderland (currently being set up) was explained as being the site of the large parade ground. Further into the park it was a lot less open, with a lot more meadow type areas, we were told about the days of Highwaymen and the main route through the park being that of sheep and cattle headed for Smithfield Market.
The meadow areas with their longer grasses, other plants and fallen logs for creatures like stag beetles to hide in
There is certainly something I love about learning the history of the places I visit, especially in London. However the real reason I was at the park today was left at the end of the walk. In a busy corner of Hyde Park near to a main gate there is a little lodge house surrounded by an iron fence. In that iron fence there is a secret gate and our tour guide had a key to open it. Behind that fence, in the small garden of the lodge house is what is know as the Hyde Park Pet Cemetery. Rows and rows of tiny gravestones are huddled together with names like ‘Sheila’, ‘Rex’ and ‘Patch’. The first to be buried here was a little dog called Cherry in 1881, who loved her walks around the park so much and her owners wanted her to be laid to rest there. It seems the lodge house occupant agreed to let them bury her in their garden and then the next burial came in the form of a royal family member’s beloved pet. After that it would appear burial here for the pets of London became very popular during the Victorian period, and I would imagine some form of status symbol amongst the people there.
Rows and rows of tiny headstones
I loved visiting this little place, it seems so very whimsical with the tiny headstones and amusing names for the pets. The heartfelt messages on the headstones are quite a tearjerker for the animal lover, and I can only imagine what it meant to people to be able to bury their pets in the park they loved and have a headstone erected in their memory. I took many photos of this lovely place that I will post below, the Cemetery is not widely open to the public but the Royal Parks do run tours throughout the year which are advertised on their website and I can not recommend more highly. We also wandered around the park a bit after and I will include some other photos I took, enjoy and let me know if you have any questions!
“Patch” A friend of a lifetime and for thirteen years a devoted companion, she suffered and those who loved her best helped her to pass on.
In loving memory of my dear Tom, for eight years the faithful companion and friend
Here I just noticed the word Crocodile, not sure if named crocodile or an actual pet crocodile!
My next pet will without doubt be named Bones!
The Physical Energy Monument
The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial fountain
The Peter Pan Statue I’ve loved ever since I was a child!