First Walk of 2022 in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

Dear Readers, you might remember that St Pancras and Islington Cemetery has been something of a haven during this past few years, and it’s still one of my very favourite places to walk. Today was a chilly but bright day, with a low, blinding sun, and the hedges and treetops were full of very uncooperative birds. Here, for your delectation, is a photo of a male chaffinch’s backside. You’re welcome.

Not all the birds are quite so shy, though. Close to the chapel/public toilets, there is always a family of rose-ringed parakeets. I suspect that they have already picked out their nesting holes for the season, and seemed to be spending their time picking the buds off of the plane trees, and possibly chewing off twigs for their nests. They look so exotic with their bright-green feathers against the blue sky! They certainly brightened up my day.

The winter heliotrope is in flower – it’s said to have a strong, vanilla-like scent, and if I inhaled very deeply there was something in the air. It’s closely related to the native Butterbur, but is fragrant. It’s taken over a whole area close to the chapel.

Winter heliotrope (Petasites pyrenaicus)

A sea of heart-shaped leaves

And right alongside is the memorial to William French, who lost his life trying to save a dog in Highgate Ponds in 1896. Someone always loving decorates the grave, and I thought the dog was looking particularly fine today, which it should do as apparently it survived. You can read the whole story on the Studied Monuments site here – it’s by Bob Davenport, and I highly recommend it. I shall be looking around for some of Bob’s other featured monuments when I next visit the cemetery.

And finally, I wanted to include a shot of the sun through the yew trees on Harwood’s Path. As usual I was teased by the goldcrests, who are always twittering around here but are never still enough, or close enough, to photograph. Still, it’s always lovely to hear them going about their business. Can spring be far off now? Let’s hope not.

2 thoughts on “First Walk of 2022 in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

  1. Ann Bronkhorst

    Glad you have found Studied Monuments. I believe some veterans of the Crimean War (19c, not the more recent goings on) might be in his sights as there are three or four buried in that cemetery.


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