August is notoriously slow, whatever your profession or whoever you are used to rubbing shoulders with. Everyone has gone on holiday, there is less traffic on the roads but more children flooding the parks and tourist attractions of the city and/or the country (I am lucky enough to reside somewhere exactly between the two). Everything feels a little disjointed, and the haze of the summer and the memory of those long-ago school holidays always leaves the impression that you’re taking a break, even when you’re not. Productivity can wait until September and our next Cemetery Club visit is tentatively planned for the end of this month. In the meantime, here are some things I have learned this week, whilst drifting from place to place, being on holiday in my mind:-
– Edith Cavell’s grave is outside Norwich Cathedral. There is also a monument to her just outside the cathedral grounds. I have subsequently learned that she grew up in a small village just outside Norwich, and her father was a Reverend. I also learned, although I am sure you are already aware, that she helped hundreds of Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium during World War I, and was caught and executed for her efforts. I am in awe. She was a hero. I bet she was really fearless and I would have wanted to be her friend.
– Again, something that you probably already know – the Yew Tree is a traditional symbol of sadness and can often be found next to a church in a graveyard. This came to my attention also whilst walking around Norwich last week – the city is full of beautiful churches, most of which have hulking Yew trees standing near them. I think the Yew is kind of ugly, but what do I know? I’ve since read a few different accounts of the reason for the Yew in the churchyard – ranging from old Pagan and Druid traditions being adopted by the Church to Yew’s being grown in every English parish for their medicinal properties – but due to the potentially toxic quality of these properties, they could only be grown in an enclosed space, which for most villages was the churchyard. Perhaps so cows could not reach the leaves and be poisoned to death. There’s also the story that the Yew Tree would be planted over the graves of plague victims to purify the dead. Who knows? Do you know? Care to enlighten me further?
– Fleetwood is the only town in the UK to have THREE lighthouses! I am a big lighthouse fan and want to go on a UK tour of lighthouses as soon as possible, armed with cameras of course. I would, in fact, like to live in a lighthouse. I have been planning my tour route and came across the northern town of Fleetwood, which has Pharos Lighthouse, Beach Lighthouse (both fully functioning) and Wyre Light, which stands just offshore, in the Irish sea, at the mouth of the River Wyre, and is mostly wreckage now. It was built in 1839-40 and was the first, screw-pile’ lighthouse to be built and lit in Britain.
– The only cathedral in Luxembourg is the Notre Dame Cathedral located in Luxembourg City. It’s cornerstone was laid in 1613. I am looking forward to visiting it next week.
Sheldon and I are both on holiday next week. We would love some guest posts – if you’re a fan of the blog and interested in writing one, please get in touch.