A Warm Walk in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

Dear Readers, we went for a quick amble around the cemetery on Saturday, before the temperature started to climb too much, but everywhere is still very crisp and dry. However, the spiders are clearly out in force: the statue of Alexander William Lamond, who died in 1926, has some spiders’  webs adorning his handsome neck.

And elsewhere, the dried seedheads of the hogweed are also draped in cobwebs, and herein lies a tale – I was watching reruns of ‘Masterchef the Professionals’ during the week, and one of the chefs, Oli Martin, made a parfait from foraged hogweed seeds which everyone seemed to enjoy. So, when I saw the plant on Saturday I was confident enough of my ID to pick a few seeds and give them a quick munch. Goodness! They have a very acidic, lemony taste which seems to shift to menthol towards the end. I was quite impressed, and could see how the seeds could add a very unusual flavour to something creamy. In my Wednesday Weed on hogweed, there’s a recipe for hogweed spiced biscuits. Just be careful though, lovelies, you wouldn’t want to gather a handful of hemlock seeds by mistake and end up deaded, as Bluebottle used to say in The Goon Show (#showingmyage).

Hogweed and Spiders’ webs.

Elsewhere, the acorns are filling out very nicely. There is something about them when they’re little that I find adorable. I’m surprised there are so many after last year’s bumper crop, but maybe they take more than a year to mature, I shall have to wait and see. 

‘My’ swamp cypress is doing very well, and doesn’t seem to be suffering too much in the heat in spite of its preference for boggy ground.

And I thought that the light through the leaves of this ornamental beech tree was really lovely, it looks like a rather subdued plate glass window.

And finally, I have always been a little dismissive of the more ornamental marigold varieties but I am clearly wrong, because look at these bumblebees all over these yellow flowers! It goes to show that you can’t believe everything that you read, and that bumblebees are very versatile animals.

And so after a slow amble around the cemetery we decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and that it was time to head back for some shade and a delicious slice of spanakopita (feta, greens and filo pie) from our local greengrocer, Tony’s Continental on East Finchley High Street. I will be battening down the hatches for the next day or so as the temperature climbs to 100 degrees Fahrenheit because I am a delicate, pale-skinned creature, prone to overheating. So here is a lovely cool photo for you to peruse if you’re in need of some protection from the weather.


9 thoughts on “A Warm Walk in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery

  1. sllgatsby

    My goodness, what lovely photos. I love the beech tree one. Stay cool out there. I like to put a damp flannel on a saucer and put it in the freezer, for a refreshing wipe down when I need it!

  2. Malcolm

    For the sake of balance as the media are giving us non stop coverage of immanent hell fires 🔥
    In the 1920s 500,000 people died every year from floods,droughts and heatwaves.In 2020 14,000 died.A fall of 96%.

      1. Bug Woman Post author

        From Wikipedia on Brendan O’Neil;

        ‘O’Neill has opposed efforts to combat climate change through reductions in carbon emissions, and instead advocates for “technological progress”.[23] He has said that the environmental movement has become a “religious cult”[24] “waging war on the working class”.[25] He criticised the Swedish environmentalist activist Greta Thunberg in his 2019 article “The Cult of Greta Thunberg”[26] in which he describes her as a “millenarian weirdo” and criticises what he describes as the “monotone voice” speech patterns[27][28][29][30] of the Swedish environmentalist.’

        So not exactly a reliable commentator in my view, and a professional provocateur.

  3. Liz Norbury

    I love the photo of the shady wood – it’s like a painting. When I went for a walk in my local wood yesterday evening, in search of this kind of shade, I was instead met by a wall of heat. But this morning we had thunder, wind and rain, and it was so dark that the street lights came on. The sun was out again by midday, and although most of the rain had been drunk by the no doubt very thirsty earth, it was still sparkling on the leaves, which was rather nice. I hope some cooler weather comes your way tomorrow.

    1. Bug Woman Post author

      I guess unless he cited some sources, we’ll never know! I do think that in the Western World we are better prepared for floods, droughts etc, but for example in the heatwave in 2016 NHS figures showed 1600 excess deaths, and that’s just in the UK. Also, the half a million a year figure for the 1920s looks as if it could stand a bit of analysis. This was also the period of the flu pandemic, and many veterans of WWI came home and died from their injuries or from diseases picked up in the trenches, as this very cemetery will attest.


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