A Busy Day in Stoke Newington

Trip Start Apr 25, 2012
Trip End May 12, 2012

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What I did
Abney Park Cemetery
North American Landscape exhibit - British Museum

Flag of United Kingdom  , England,
Thursday, May 17, 2012

Today was a catch-up and travel management kind of day.  I had decided to stay around Stoke Newington and get some chores done.  First I put in a load of clothes to wash while I was eating breakfast.  I got a little bogged down reading my book and read a few chapters too many to find out about Peter Featherstone's will.  This was George Eliot's Middlemarch.  Then I hung up the laundry to dry and wrapped my packages to send off at the Post Office down the street.

I came back via the Abney Park cemetery and took the outer perimeter paths.  The cemetery is a nature sanctuary as well as cemetery and there are lots of birds singing and signs for the veteran trees, mostly ashes that look pretty much dead - I think I saw an old oak and a pine too.  It was a little hard to judge how old the cemetery was because I could only see the dates on the stones that had legible writing - there were some stones that I couldn't read that may have been older.  I saw stones for people who had died between 1840 or so and 1990's - there may have been one or two in the 2000's that I saw but I mostly looked at ones that looked old or special in some way. 

The cemetery is unlike most that I have seen in that it appears to be cared for - as a nature preserve - but the stones are left to fall and be covered with vines, flowers and trees.  It is quite beautiful this way.  I couldn't stop taking photos until I realized I needed to get moving to finish my chores.  Of course, you always look at how old the people were when they died.  Although there were quite a few living into their 70's and 80's, it is always sobering to see all the young people, especially children, dying in the 1800's and early 1900's.  I saw a few soldiers - at least one from WWII and one in a Spanish war - but there were no flags on these graves as there might be in the US.  It was also interesting to see how the family monuments listed their various members and their relationships...and sometimes where they lived or came from.  The cemetery was quite busy - lots of people walking their dogs  and some people just walking themselves.

I got back to Astrid's and ate a quick lunch and set out for the camera shop.  That #73 bus seems slower all the time.  I began to think that the London system might profit from having some express buses and trains.   I got off earlier than I planned because I thought I saw a camera shop but it turned out to be a photo shop only, so that wasted some time.  Then I saw which stop I needed and got off there, walked up and down the street and found the shop.  The clerk was extremely helpful and offered me two possible solutions because he wasn't entirely sure why my charger wouldn't charge my batteries:  a new charger for 40 pounds or charging my battery for only 6 pounds.  Even though I didn't have enough time to charge the battery fully, I went for the battery charging and it still cost 6 pounds for 40 minutes rather than the full 4 hours.  He suspected that the voltage change was causing the problem.  So I went off for what I planned to be one-half hour but found an exhibit of North American plants at the British Museum and it took a bit longer.

The return trip was complicated by the fact that the #73 bus does not always have the return station opposite it.  I looked in vain for the #73 on the side of the street where I expected it and then asked another clerk at the camera shop where to find it.  He told me to go down the street and turn right and I would find it.  He didn't mention I would have to cross the street.  Eventually I found it - way down the street on the opposite side.  I also noticed that the stops on the return route did not match the ones on the way out.  I verified this with Astrid later and it is because of the one-way streets.  I thought there were new names of stops popping up.  I rushed back to drop off some stuff at Astrid's and then back to Stoke Newington High Street to meet Astrid at the Coach & Horses restaurant as we had arranged. 

I rushed so much that I rushed past the designated place to the restaurant next door.  I waited for Astrid in vain.  The barman handed me a menu with seafood selections and I thought it was supposed to be Thai.  Then I zipped out, checked the name of the restaurant and the one next door, apologized and met Astrid in the correct restaurant.

Astrid was having the draft cider so I had some too and then tried a draft English bitter.  It wasn't bad.  We shared a squid appetizer and I had a soup with prawns.  It was quite good.  The blues-folky band came on around nine and we stayed awhile.  I enjoyed the music and we chatted.  Astrid felt it was a cozy pub and I agreed.  She mentioned that it was usually much more crowded and she wondered why there were so few people.  After we left, she saw that there was a comedy act at the town hall and maybe that was the reason.

It was a good day even though I didn't get as much accomplished as I would have liked.  I sort of spent the day as a person living in the neighborhood might have done and that has a special feel for me as a tourist.  Of course, a real experience might have had to include a day's work, but we shouldn't push this too far, right??  Now, back to being a tourist, I have packed up all that I can.  A few more things have to be packed once they dry.  It is 11:30 and I will be getting up after Astrid finishes showering around 6:30 so I can leave with her and be sure to get to the train station on time.

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