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

“Unplug It”

This post this morning

on the acclaimed novel

prompted my thoughts to return to my own copy – a first edition from 1993. I concur with Vibha Lohani’ s assessment of the novel and suspect that her comparison of it with the TV series, although I haven’t watched it, is accurate.

I am rather proud of the author’s complimentary letter appraising my Crossword puzzle featured in “Hoisted By My Own Petard”

Another earlier post of mine features “The Magnificent Seven”, a book about London’s Victorian landscaped cemeteries on which I collaborated with author John Turpin.

On yet another mournful monochrome morning it seemed incumbent on me to tackle my scanner problems. Following the highly technical advice of Sherry from port4u who suggested I should “unplug it’, I managed to achieve the correct settings for colour slides and was therefore able to begin a project featuring.

photographs which did not make it to the book. Rather fortuitously, these images were produced in November 2018.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s vegetable and egg packed savoury rice with a rack of pork ribs and prawns – some tempura and some spicy, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Corbieres.

Mostly Around Notting Hill

For this post I have reverted to the tried, tested, and trusted editorial facility.
I have almost come to the end of my Streets of London series of colour slides produced in the first decade of this century. Today I scanned a few from May 2008.

Crossing the Hammersmith & City Underground Railway line near Westbourne Park, Golborne Road W11 runs east from Portobello Road to Kensal Road. Situated at the northern end of Portobello Market It has a plethora of restaurants and antique shops.

‘This area of Notting Hill‘s northern corner has changed dramatically over its history. The area was part of the Great Forest of Middlesex; in 1543 the land was seized by Henry VIII and by the 18th century Golborne was farmland.

Golborne Road was named after Dean Golbourne, at one time vicar of St. John’s Church in Paddington. Until the middle of the 19th century it was no more than a country footpath crossing the fields of Portobello Farm, but in 1870 the road was widened, shops were built and the road was extended over the railway.
The Golborne Road area is sometimes known as “Little Morocco” due to the number of Moroccan restaurants and shops selling Maghrebian products located along the road.[1] The road also has renown in the Portuguese community for the two Portuguese pâtisseries at one end, Cafe d’Oporto and Lisboa Patisserie.’ (Wikipedia)

The story of the appearance of this sample of the work of Banksy on a wall in Acklam Road W10 is related in ‘Walls’.

Yeah Man in Lancaster Road W11 now appears to be Jay Dee’s. The spicy Caribbean takeaway remains highly acclaimed.

Also in this area of Notting Hill, St Luke’s Mews is where TV presenter Paula Yates lived and died of an accidental drug overdose in September 2000.

I have to rely almost entirely on my memory for the next two locations because the street names are somewhat indistinct. I can say that they were all photographed at the top end of Highgate High Street during one of my trips to Highgate Cemetery to make the illustrations to ‘The Magnificent Seven’. Perhaps my next archived series could be the pictures for that book.

The Angel Inn stands on the corner of that High Street and a square I cannot identify. Clearly the owners are somewhat biased, but their website boasts:

‘Discreetly stylish, authentically British – comfort and elegance combined
Perched above Highgate Village, one of London’s most distinguished suburbs, and just a stone’s throw from Hampstead Heath, The Angel Inn is an iconic London pub, ahead of the game in providing the perfect setting for a truly memorable drinking and dining experience.
Whether it’s a relaxed lunch, sumptuous Sunday roast, indulgent dinner or lazy brunch you’re looking for, we offer an enticing range of flavoursome dishes incorporating classic British ingredients with a creative twist, all accompanied by our exceptional range of cask ales, craft beers, fine wines and artisan spirits.
Classic with a bohemian edge, The Angel Inn combines traditional wood-panelling, period features and contemporary touches, boasting an open fire for those chillier months. Fostering a relaxed yet refined atmosphere, this convivial pub has the spirit of the great British local at heart; our dedicated team are committed to first class service and look forward to welcoming you and helping you unwind…’

This elegant little square is around there somewhere.

Also close to Highgate High Street, Castle Yard N6, with its intriguing little terrace, links North Road with Southwood Lane.

I can neither pinpoint this section of Marylebone’s York St W1, nor identify the church tower in the background. Perhaps a reader will be able to.

Baker Street and Gloucester Place (shown on this corner) are linked by Bickenhall Street W1.

Bartholomew Malthus, a character in Robert Louis Stevenson’s story ‘The Suicide Club’ resided at 16 Chepstow Place, W2.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid savoury egg fried rice; spare ribs in barbecue sauce; mini spring rolls and prawn toasts with which I drank more of the Madiran.
P.S. Please refer to Lwbut’s comments below, for the answers to all my questions


When I posted The Magnificent Seven, I was in France, and not carrying my archived photos from 2008.  I was therefore unable to illustrate it suitably.  Kensal Green 12.08 -4This morning, having stored them on the new iMac, I picked a few at random and added a postscript.  It wasn’t quite a straightforward operation because I had to change the original formats to JPEG in order to upload them.  It took a wee while to work it out.  I don’t fancy my chances of remembering how to do it next time.

In 1995 the B3078, Godshill Road, was named Roger Penny Way after a much respected local highway official sensitive to the forest.  We have often driven along it from the Cadnam roundabout towards Godshill or Fordingbridge.  Jackie has sometimes dropped me off along there for a walk across the heathland to meet her at Frogham.  Our latest investigation into a possible new abode led us to take a turning to the right along this road. Lyburn Cottage About three miles from the Cadnam roundabout lies Lyburn Cottage in Lyburn Road, Nomansland. Lyburn Road This is actually in Wiltshire but still in the New Forest National Park, although the forest itself stops at the cattle grid on the hill at the top of the road.  The now familiar ponies and their droppings trails are directly opposite this. Lamb Inn and Mirabelle Just around the corner stands the Lamb Inn with an interesting looking French restaurant, Mirabelle, next door.  As I read the bilingual menu affixed to a post outside, a French family were leaving, and in conversation with a man I took to be the proprietor. The restaurant separates the pub from the methodist chapel.

The current owner of Lyburn Cottage was painting the outside of the garage, so we expressed our interest and had a good conversation.  Not yet in possession of our money, we explained we were not ready for viewing.  He said we were welcome to walk around the outside and take photographs.  I had a very good feel about this one. Lyburn Cottage garden The gardens are an attraction,Rose climber as are the rose covering the frontage, and the vine over the carport.

We enjoyed a drink and a snack in the pub.  The nearest shop, not far away is in Landford.  This is run by an escapee from south west London who told Jackie some months ago that this was the best move she had ever made.  The publican told me there was a cash machine in the Landford Post Office.  Indeed there was.  The woman serving summoned a man who was eating his dinner inside, and he came into the store to operate it for me.  We took a slow drive back through the forest to Roger Penny Way and home.

When I got soaked a couple of days ago, so must have my camera, for today’s pictures have a kind of woolly effect on the far right of the frame.  On inspection I discovered a smear on the lens.  Hopefully, cleaning it will have done the trick.

Minstead in 17th Century001This afternoon I finished reading Peter Roberts’ ‘Minstead: Life in seventeenth century New Forest Community’, lent to us by David Watson.  Clearly, not much has been written on the subject in the past.  A small forest village has probably not engendered a huge amount of interest  and according to Roberts there wasn’t a great deal of local literacy at that time.  The author has therefore relied heavily on such records as court rolls, wills, and inventories.  We have a picture of people without full employment living off the forest as best they may.  For me the book suffers from a certain adherence to facts and figures gleaned from the records with less attention to interpretation.  It is, however, fascinating.  And it offered an interesting addition to the possibilities of the origin of the word Seamans.  Peter Roberts writes: “The name may originate with J. Seman, a forest officer in the reign of Henry VI.  Whilst this could be thought to dispel the old story of the lane being used by the press gang, an item in the churchwardens accounts of 1666 for two shillings paid to ‘….8 sholgers in the conveying of prest men two Portmuth’ leaves room for thought as to how such tales start’.

Jackie’s juicy jalfrezi and scrumptious savoury rice, followed by New Forest strawberry ice cream, provided our dinner tonight.  I drank Torretta di Mondelli Nero d’Avola 2011, and Jackie her usual Hoegaarden.

The Magnificent Seven


This morning was spent accompanying Maggie, Mike and Bill wandering first around the industrial centre outside the town and then around Bergerac itself.   The other customers in the large supermarkets on the outskirts were mostly French, whereas the Saturday market sprawling across streets both old and new, featured a fair smattering of English accents.  Although larger than most it has a pretty familiar set of stalls; cheap clothing and nicknacks; CDs and DVDs; vegetables and much else.  Maggie was attracted to tables containing crumpled, presumably second-hand, clothing priced at 1 or 2 euros.  The men weren’t.

We first had to drive around in search of a parking space.  This took some considerable time because the main carpark was occupied by a funfair.

By the time we returned, and Bill and I were dropped off at Sigoules, the acute headache I had woken with was considerably worse and I felt a bit queasy.  There was nothing for it but to lie down.  I divested myself of my raincoat, shed my shoes, and fell on top of my duvet.  I dozed for about five hours, stirring to climb under the duvet when I felt cold.  In the early evening I took three paracetamol, made scrambled eggs on toast, and returned to bed after eating them.  I was now well enough to finish reading ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’ by Audrey Niffenegger and begin Philippa Gregory’s ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’.  Before settling down to nine hours sleep, I remembered to take off my jacket, otherwise I remained fully clothed.

Some five years ago now, I received a telephone call from Mike Kindred telling me that his friend John Turpin, whom I had met once or twice, had asked him if he knew anyone who could take the photographs for a book he had written about the seven landscaped Victorian cemeteries known as ‘The Magnificent Seven’.  He sought my permission to give John my name.  This I gave willingly.  For the next two years, covering different seasons, John and I visited the venues for the purpose of photography.  From Kensal Green and West Brompton in the west to Abney Park and Tower Hamlets in the east, I became very familiar with the Victorian way of death.  Usually travelling with John, who knew all the cemeteries backwards, I sometimes returned alone to those in the west to which I could easily walk from W2 where I was living at the time.  One winter’s day John rang me to tell me about magnificent sunsets he had seen at Kensal Green.  Off I went  and took what I think were stunning sunsets against the various extravagant monuments in that, the first of these cemeteries.  It was a great disappointment when Amberley Press chose, for reasons of cost, to publish in black and white.  As I am not at home I cannot illustrate this post with a picture from the book. 

Sigoules cemetery will have to do.

My friend Alison knew of this publication, so when she discovered that ‘Her Fearful Symmetry’ was set in and around Highgate cemetery, perhaps the most famous of the septet, she lent me the book.  Once I got over one or two early similes which I thought rather fanciful, I thoroughly enjoyed the beguiling novel.  It is a ghost story like none other.  It is about love, grief, loss, and relationships, displaying a sound knowledge of humanity.  It provides evidence of a familiarity with London, introducing me to the intriguing Postman’s Park, of which I had never heard.  And it has a surprising denouement.

Postscript 10th September 2013:

Now at home, I add a few random (except for the sunset) pictures from the cemeteries.

The book’s ISBN number is 978 – 1 – 4456 – 0038 – 3.  Published by Amberley, it is by John Turpin and Derrick Knight.