A Grey Walk in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

Dear Readers it might have been grey and overcast, but the autumn colour in the cemetery makes up for any lack of blue skies. The various cherries, crab apples and maples were putting on a very fine show on Saturday, when we went for our usual walk. And it’s the day before Remembrance Sunday, so the memorials to the dead of Islington and St Pancras, and to the soldiers who fell in both world wars, were garlanded with poppies.

‘My’ swamp cypress is starting to put on its autumn cloak of colours, though it will be a few weeks before it reaches a crescendo.

I love the energy that the robins put into defending their winter territories – they are the only birds who are actually singing, as opposed to calling, at this time of year.

I have always wondered why it is that some leaves on a tree fall before others. Is it random? Do the leaves at the tips of branches fall first? Every year I look, and every year I’m more confused. I’m sure there’s a scientific study in there somewhere. Any thoughts, readers? The tree below is clearly a maple of some kind (says she hopefully), probably a field maple though I’m happy to be corrected.

There were crows everywhere today, and they seemed to be mostly interested in turning over the damp turf in the search for worms and grubs. This one, though, clearly has loftier ambitions.

The white deadnettle is still in flower, which will be handy for any passing bees.

I had never noticed how red the stems are on the sycamore leaves either.

And look how red the bramble leaves sometimes turn!

There is a little Japanese maple down by the stream, though whether it was planted or just blown in I don’t know. What is astonishing is the red of the leaves, even as the tree itself is overwhelmed by brambles and nettles.

And the Japanese Knotweed is forming a positive forest along the edge of the cemetery.

The ginkgo leaves are still falling….

And in a small miracle, someone has stood the fallen angel from last week back onto her feet again! No wonder she’s raising a victory salute.

I rather liked this fallen leaf – does anyone else think it looks like a little face? Seeing faces in objects is apparently called pareidolia, and apparently it was once thought to be a symptom of psychosis. These days it’s considered a normal part of the brain’s desire to make sense of things.

A friend told me that this area is where the cemetery cats are buried. I’m glad that they’ve got their own little space. Dusky was the most splendid of moggies and patrolled his/her area with great aplomb. I haven’t seen them for several years.

Dusky the cemetery cat from 2016.

And finally there is a right old brouhaha, and a flock of a dozen ring-necked parakeets flies overhead. They seem to be in a perpetual state of high excitement, shrieking the news at one another and then suddenly flying off, making a complete circle and ending up back in their original tree.

They are not the most peaceable of neighbours, but they are certainly the liveliest.



5 thoughts on “A Grey Walk in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

  1. Claire

    No parakeets, yesterday, but a flock of starlings on our plane tree. I enjoyed their songs, although I can understand that some people can find them noisy. Then, this morning, I got on the bus and a group of schoolchildren, probably on their way to some class outing, came aboard, and reminded me of the starlings. In both cases, it was lively and gay, not loud enough to be disturbing… I can see the face on the maple leaf, too… Hope neither is a sign of psychosis…


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