Scanning the dull granite skies did not look promising today, so I scanned the next half dozen of Charles Keeping’s sinuous line illustrations to Charles Dickens’s ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’, followed by colour slides of a visit to Nunhead Cemetery on a much brighter day in September 2008.
‘An anxious shade came upon his contented face when his glance encountered the dull brow of his companion’
‘I am the most miserable man in the world’
‘Fresh horses came and went and came again’
‘In the throats and maws of dark no-thoroughfares near Todgers’s’ gives the artist an opportunity to display his perfectly receding perspective in an accurate presentation of a cramped warehouse scene of the period.
‘Down they came directly, singing as they came’
‘Cuffey fell back into a dark corner’
Nunhead Cemetery is one of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ and managed by the local authority, Southwark Borough Council.
My post ‘Council Housing’ describes the policies of the 1980s that led to the transfer of the
West Lodge to private ownership. When Southwark Council bought the cemetery for £1 in 1976 both East and West Lodges were derelict. The West one was refurbished to provide council accommodation. The tenant bought the property at a reduced price under the ‘Right to Buy’ scheme, and subsequently sold it at its true market value.
Refurbishment of the octagonal chapel was also required. At the time of my visit with writer John Turpin
the gate, for example, had been renewed, but it was still without a roof.
A sensitively sculpted angel was garlanded with ivy.
The afternoon, although still cool and breezy, brightened considerably. Jackie attended to water features while I cleared up clippings and took them to the compost bins.
Later we dined on the Culinary Queen’s spicy pasta arrabbiata and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Hardy’s Endeavour Cabernet Shiraz 2020