You know how annoying it can be if you have plans and something comes along that stops you completing those plans? Do you also know how sometimes that happens and you don’t mind because the thing that stops you in your tracks is so much better than you expected it to be?
Yesterday I finally got to Golders Green (via tube) after failing to find it last time. I planned to wander around, visit the Golders Green crematorium to see Bram Stokers final resting place, then walk back to the West End and Kensington to do some shopping.
When I arrived I did walk around a bit. I really liked the Golders Green area, it was much more appealing than places like Lambeth where I’ve been going, with lots of groceries selling goods from all over the world. I went into a Vietnamese shop selling all kinds of Oriental foodstuffs and put some goodies there. It was far too early for lunch so I didn’t go into any of the Kosher restaurants and cafes that I planned to try, but instead started walking towards the crematorium planning to go back at lunchtime.
Once I realised how huge the place was I pretty much gave up on finding Bram Stoker and was photographing a plaque to Marc Bolan (whose ashes are buried there with his parents’) when I was approached by a man who worked there and started showing me photos of various significant plaques and urns, then offered to show me Bram Stoker. His name was Eric Willis, he’s a maintenance man at the crematorium but also does unofficial tours for visitors sometimes, and he was so helpful, friendly and enthusiastic that I couldn’t drag myself away! I was expecting to spend an hour there at most, but it turned into 3 hours or so including a look behind the scenes at the cremators and other machinery involved into the process. You’re probably thinking that I sound a bit ghoulish, but in all honesty it was a lovely place, beautifully landscaped gardens, friendly staff and had a wonderful atmosphere. I can’t think of anywhere nicer to put a lost loved one, then visit and pay respects. There are lots of famous people buried, stored or scattered on the gardens there – in addition to Bram Stoker and Marc Bolan, there is Sigmund Freud and his family, Peter Sellers, Anna Pavlova, and many more. Some of the plaques had little information but some told you a bit about the person and how they died, and there were a few mausoleums in the grounds as well.
The gardens, where the ashes are scattered if that’s what the families want, are stunning. They’re intended to provide a peaceful happy place for people to spend time remembering their loved ones, and its so much more conducive to remembering the good times than any church graveyard I’ve ever been in!
All in all it was a wonderful visit, and I’d strongly recommend it to anyone in North London – especially if you’re lucky enough to meet Eric for a tour!
I was going to separate out the food talk again, but I changed my mind. I didn’t have a very good day food-wise, but I enjoyed it!!!
Breakfast: Fage 2% Greek yoghurt with honey, strawberries and a bran muffin (nowhere near as filling as I found this breakfast last time)
Lunch: Not eaten till around 2:35, by which time I was starving! I went to the Cafe Rouge in Hampstead and had a Cafe Baguette (steak in a baguette with fries and salad) then had dessert….
Dinner: I wasn’t very hungry when I got back to the hotel, but M was so I had to go along since he hadn’t been lucky enough to eat a huge late lunch like me! I decided to try to get the evil stuff out of my system, so we had pizza. Mine was a thin (Italian) crust Vegetable Supreme with only half the normal amount of cheese though!
Snacks: Just one snack today! A brunch pot from Caffe Nero (Low fat yoghurt with granola & strawberry compote) with a single chocolate and a small pack of Nak’d cherry infused raisins and a fruit smoothie blended with ice.