down to the end of Handel Street

That’s where we walked this morning, a day before we fly home, to St. George’s Gardens, one of my favourite places in London. The land for it was bought in 1713 as a burial ground; it went through various stages of use and dereliction before being  re-opened in the 1940s as a “public sitting room for the poor”, in the words of housing reformer Octavia Hill (from an information sign by the garden’s gate). It’s a lovely garden with private benches, magpies (we observed the courtesies seeing the first one, and then I was relieved to see its mate: one for sorrow, two for joy…), massive plantings of hellebores, daffodils, a statue of Euterpe (the muse of lyric poetry),


and small children out with their parents. I thought how this trip has been all about time, its dimensions, its shadows and faint outlines:


Here is the grave of Anna Gibson, granddaughter of Oliver Cromwell, related (in some way; kinship maps always baffle me) to Thomas Cromwell, subject of the wonderful Wolf Hall:


And late yesterday afternoon, after arriving from France, we sang “Loch Lomond” to our granddaughter Kelly, across the oceans, the time-zones, through the wonders of Skype.

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