The Building site and Cemetery - Day 289 - 290
At last we have seen the building site and a visit to one of the magnificent seven Cemeteries around London.
Day 289 was a moving on day from my eldest sister to Tim’s eldest sister. We are so lucky to both have such wonderful families. Our next day, we hopped on the train to Peckham to see George and Laura’s flat – I mean - building site! The only remaining part of the house is the top of the front of the house, the side walls, some beams and the main roof. Half of that will be replaced next week! The downstairs is owned by a couple of Architects and they had the same idea as George and Laura to gut and revamp their place, so both are using the same builder, one of George’s contacts. While they were all talking about windows and walls, we stood chatting to the Quantity Surveyor, who recently had become a grandfather. The look of pride on his face was a picture. We precariously climbed over planks and made our way to a café, waiting for George and Laura. I so admire them both. With a complex build, there are going to be hiccups. For example, the architects want a non-standard colour of windows, causing 9 weeks delay. George and Laura take it in their stride, realising that there is no point getting in a stew. This doesn’t do any good and just wastes energy. Laura returned home to her parents, and us three Reeds wandered around the backstreets, passed neat front gardens and front doors tarted up with hues of Farrow and Ball paint. Peckham is now a far cry from Del Boy and Rodney Trotters’ hometown, with many young middle class gentrifying the area, doing up Victorian terraced houses, just like George and Laura. We visited Nunhead cemetery, tucked amongst small residential roads and one of the “magnificent seven” as they are called. Seven cemeteries were commercially built in a ring around the outskirts of London in the mid-1800s to cater for the shortage of burial sites….no change there and hardly the outskirts now! Perhaps it sounds weird, but I love wandering around these type of cemeteries, wondering about the history of the people and seeing the array of headstones, from simple to gaudy and small to grand. Gothic tombstones peek out from the undergrowth looking like a scene from a Hammer Horror film. As we walked down one of the outer paths we saw a fabulous view of the City of London with St Pauls in the centre, framed by trees. What a picture. As we were walking out, we came across the stunningly dramatic chapel in a gothic style, completed in 1844 and designed by Thomas Little who won an architectural competition advertised in ‘The Builder’ magazine. Sadly it was victim to arsonists in the late 1970s and the roof was destroyed giving it an even more austere feel. Coffee time, we sat in a nearby café and George went through the plans of the flat, describing how the 4 flights of stairs will work and talking through ideas for lighting on the landings. Having built our own house in the past, we know how much there is to consider when building, yet at least we were starting from scratch so had fewer constraints than George and Laura. We were all in our element; thoroughly enjoying talking through ideas for the build. We are sure it will be very stylish and a wonderful happy home for them both. We said our farewells and I had spied a couple of charity shops to search in. My sister Dawn and I are taking our other sister out on Saturday to celebrate her ‘special’ birthday and need to dress appropriately. Unfortunately, despite usually being very well planned, I had forgotten this, so didn’t bring any ‘posh’ clothes from Bristol. My usual travelling attire is hardly elegant! Luckily an outfit was found. Two ladies, Janet and Tina were also rummaging around the shop and we had such a lovely banter with them, not something we may have done 10 months ago. It really is wonderful chatting to people, connecting and often having a laugh. Eventually back to Jo and Robert’s we arrived to a delicious smell wafting from the kitchen. Jo had invited friends Claire and Rob for the evening and what a great time we had…universal basic income, education, the hierarchy of the film industry and of course travel were some of the subjects for debate. All good fun and great to consider different viewpoints.