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Those London cemeteries are wonderful. I've never been to one but I have ALL THE BOOKS about them and who's buried in them. It's an obsession. Those lost rivers too; I only ever knew about the Fleet until I read Ben Aaronovitch's novels and now - Effra, Tyburn, all the Brooks, Quaggy and more. So fascinating. I don't think I could even visit London any more. I used to go a lot when I was working, maybe once or twice a week. Now I get overwhelmed in Exeter...

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Mar 14·edited Mar 14Author

Ah you must go, June. There's nothing quite like a walk around and through West Norwood cemetery, especially in the late spring/early summer when it's most overgrown. Don't miss the paths through the middle, they're the best bit. I also love Nunhead, Highgate and Abney. Not made it to Kensal Green or Brompton yet. But I know all about the obsession. Ask anyone who knows me: I used to be OBSESSED with the Effra when I lived in West Norwood. Like, unhealthy obsessed. Why is it so captivating? I don't know. But glad I'm not the only one who thinks so! Have you read Ackroyd's London, The Biography? A treat, if you haven't yet. Lots on the rivers. Great book. Might re-read actually. As for Exeter, I've never been but would like to see the cathedral. I'll need a good long breather after the ups and downs of London though. 😅

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Yes, I've read Ackroyd's London. I must read it again...I love Ackroyd's writing. After I read Hawksmoor I was obsessed with all the churches for a while...

The cathedral is worth a visit. Exeter used to be the most lovely city - small, quiet, nice shops. Now it's like everywhere else, busy, dirty, full of students (the university and a massive college are right in town), fast food and cheap chains. A sign of the times, I think. As I get older I long for simpler times.

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What a great day out. I loved the bus journey. Nothing escapes your gaze! 😊

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Kind of wish this had escaped me tbh … 😣 but thanks for the kind words and the restack Jeffrey 🙏

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Oh Jill, I can hardly type for laughing at your awkward post-script! What an awesome tale! 🤣

Loved the tour of London and the cemetery. An absolutely glorious read - thank you so much.

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Thanks for coming along for the ride, Rebecca. We have taken to referring to Siri around the house as 'dingus' because we don't want to accidentally summon her and because she does so many dipshitted things .... even more than me.

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'Dingus' - that's a brilliant work-around! I sometimes get caught out - not yet on the scale of your example, though - now that I only have to say 'Siri' and not 'Hey Siri' to get her attention! It's an absolute minefield......

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💣 Absolutely.. she’s out for blood, I swear…

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Always such a joy to take an outing with you. David is obsessed with the hidden rivers, very much convinced that they’re all haunted so he’s thrilled to have that confirmed. London is thick with the dead, and the dead-dead are far less unnerving than the living-dead. I loved your Crow rattle, so, so very much ♥️ ps. Blackbird Bakery 4eva.

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Unnerving is hearing that rattle when you're sitting alone in a cemetery. Was sure the zombie apocalypse had come while I'd been wandering and ruminating 😅 and yes, BB 4E 🤝 god, I miss having them a 30-second run away. Countryside living is lovely but the rivers are all very much apparent and lacking in mystery. Thanks for reading, darlin xx

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Yep, top seat of the double decker, pretending I'm driving ... Barrie, aged 58 and a bit!

Also, Samuel Johnson ... what does he know? I tired of London and yet I remain not one jot tired of life. Having lived and worked there, not much would compel me London-wards (is that even a thing?). Anyhoo, enjoyed your musings and winced at the awkwardness. Lovely stuff, Jill.

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Thanks Barrie 🤝🤝 yes re Samuel J, sometimes think of him and wonder if I’m somehow lacking in life zest by exiting London... And then I move on.

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It seems you have plenty of zing in your life. Johnson knows nothing!

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Ah, Jill, this was great, a perfect rebuttal to those who say nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

I spent a year living in London (72-73), at a student hall of residence in Stockwell while attending a post-grad course at South Bank Poly, now London South Bank University, nearest tube stop, Elephant & Castle. I had no idea the Effra was running almost under my feet.

Then, and during the six years I lived in Woking, famous only later as a royal alibi, I used to take myself on what are now called artist dates. My preferred mode of transportation was train. I remember taking what had just been rebranded as the Overground from the now demolished Broad Street station to Willesden Junction just because it was there. I took a train to I forget where from Liverpool Street - "Harwich for the Continent", and from Fenchurch Street - "Southend for the Incontinent", for the same reason.

In googling Effra, I learned that it's also an Adobe font, a rather plain sans serif.

Thanks for the read and listen!

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An artist date! That's amazing. I never heard that before but just googled and it's *exactly* what I always do. Pointless excursions. 🎯

Grad student on the south bank 🤝 and preferred mode of transport always train. When I was a grad student, I used to get on the tube and just ride around for hours looking at people. I also took a pointless train to incontinent Southend — but just the once. When I lived down the road from Elephant in Borough, I used to ride my bike to the BFI and back just for a jaunt — what I will henceforward call an artist date.

Also: I had no idea the Effra was a font, she's so versatile. 🌊🤩 Thanks for being here, John.

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Artist date is my only takeaway from "The Artist's Way". Once is enough for Southend. I used to ride the Northern Line a lot. Fridays once a month or so I'd go to Euston to go see my girlfriend in Manchester. Occasionally, I'd go to Camden for a walk along the canal, riding past the mysterious Mornington Crescent station, later to become a panel game. There's apparently a blue plaque at the station now for Willie Rushton, one of the foremost players of the game. I shall have to take myself on an artist date next time I'm over.

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I’m planning my next artist date. Can’t believe I never realised this was a thing before. Is Mornington Crescent gone? I swear I remember getting off there once … in a different life. Never heard of Ruston til now (to my shame), now lost in a Private Eye rabbit hole

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I looked it up. Mornington Crescent is still there. It's hard to tell on the map, but only trains on the west end branch stop there. To get there from, say, Elephant and Castle, you have to change. When I was there, gssp, 50 years ago, it was only open weekdays, and if I was going to Camden it would be a weekend, so I only ever saw it through the train window illuminated by the emergency lighting. It was a perfect choice for the name of the panel game.

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I have just gone down a Mornington Crescent rabbit hole and reluctant to re-emerge. ISIHAC back episodes shooting to the top of the watch pile.

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If you go far enough down that rabbit hole, you might find "I'm sorry, I'll read that again", also known as ISIRTA. Taking me back to my Portsmouth Grammar School days here.

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so cool Jill, we are surrounded by stories! I'm going to a necropolis - that's where they live, right?

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Mar 14·edited Mar 14Author

Yup. 🎯 We are the stories. ❤️

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I spent 16 days last August on a visit to the UK last year split almost equally between Bristol and London. I was very comfortable roaming around Bristol. For the most part in London, I was in the suburbs (does Brentford qualify as part of London?) walking about quiet lanes and along the river and a canal. I enjoyed that thoroughly. My few forays into the city though were accompanied by a sense of bewilderment (or do I mean befuddlement? What's the difference?) except on the one occasion when I had the company of a friend, John Sills, two of his chums. I met John for the first time then; he and I had been chatting, exchanging notes, and following each others blogs for years. He evokes a warmth in his writing about a place. When you read him, you almost live there vicariously. That's exactly what I felt reading this one from you, Jill. All that I wrote was just a lead up to that last line. See, I'm not the Lord of the Bantering for nothing. As I meld into senescence (thanks for reminding me of that word), I shall be the Lord of the Blathering (perhaps I am already).

Would the Effra river front be the Effront?

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How can you have the effrontery to ask me that.. 😅

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Love a good cemetery! Have you read Ben Aaronvitch's "Rivers of London" series?

The relentless crush was on full display at the London Book Fair, unhelped by the massive Olympia II they are building on top of it...

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I haven’t! First came across the rivers reading Peter Ackroyd…. I’ll check it out. Hope you found the book fair to be beautiful and/or useful in spite of the crush x

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It had it's moments - best of all, my old college chum was by my side - worth the price of the ticket :) The series is magical/urban fantasy - I've read a few, they are entertaining - I think a movie might be planned.

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Frosted tips, river effra (brb gonna go deep dive research this one), all the history combined with the modern, worms, climbing trees… I really enjoy how you notice the world. And then…. The toilet paper. 😳 Back to reality! Thanks for this journey.

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that's a rabbit hole you'll never climb out of, the Effra. I haven't yet. 'I really enjoy how you notice the world' - feel the same way. 🤝 Thanks pal

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Mar 14Liked by Jill

My brain was travelling your journey with you. Exquisite.

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Lisa ❤️ high praise. Thanks for letting your brain ride along, appreciate the company!

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Thanks for the journey. My mind keeps returning to the six feet worms!

A million wondering!

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Thanks for coming along Margaret. It really was the richest soil I’ve ever seen, juicy as anything. And those worms were…. well-fed.

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Hahahahaha! That’s ………. worse?

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Better. You should have seen my healthy apple tree. ☺️

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I loved this Jill. Especially the lost forests.

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🙏 thank you Bea. I love them too.

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So much to savour. Thank you! I’m stuck on you and Joel with wine, overlooking the graveyard. Before he climbs a tree….

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You should see him climb trees. He goes sixty feet up. It’s heart-stopping (in the best way) ❤️

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Perhaps if we were to go back in time five hundred years, one of the things that would surprise us most would be the forests that still existed. Among many things, I enjoyed your reverence for the oaks that still stand and your imagining the forests that used to stretch into the distance. Thanks for this tour Jill.

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