Saturday, April 4, 2020

Old Books and a Metal Thing

Olga and I took our regular outing to Fortune Green and the cemetery yesterday. It's looking quite colorful out there!

The cemetery has wooded areas around the edges that for some reason seem to attract random trash. Lately I've made it a mission on each visit to pick up some rubbish and put it in the bin. This time I found a stack of wet, moldering books, complete with snails attached. Several had to do with martial arts. I detached the snails and left them in the woods, and put the books in the bin.

Some people may think it's morbid to walk around a cemetery, but I think of it almost like a park. I really don't think of it as a place associated with death.

On every visit, I notice new things:

The primroses are still blooming in the grass, carpeting some areas with pale yellow and purple flowers.

Here's a find from the woods that I kept. I don't even know what it is -- some kind of heavy iron tool. A chisel or scraper, maybe? A hand-held garden hoe? Whatever it is, it's been out there a while.

Speaking of trash, can I just say that this coronavirus pandemic has created a whole new level of disgusting street debris? I can't tell you how many discarded masks, gloves and tissues I see lying around on the pavements. It's horrible. Get it together, people! Use the rubbish bin! (For the record, I do NOT pick up those items.)

Dave and I have been lamenting the closure of small local businesses while this virus thing plays itself out. Last night we were excited to learn that one of our favorite restaurants, though closed for in-house dining, is operating a take-away and delivery service. We ordered dinner from them. It was a treat, and I was so glad to funnel some money back into the community.


Frances said...

That metal thing could be a sort of "chisel" that one hits with a hammer ? Maybe for stoneworking/masonry. I am sure someone will know it's name. Love the purple flowers in the cemetery.

FranfromHove said...

Hi. Another Frances here. I think it's called a bolster chisel.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Yes. It is indeed a bolster chisel. I have one myself. Good for splitting stone and for knocking out hard mortar in brick work. Prowling round cemeteries, aren't you afraid that a ghoul might rise up from one of those graves and frighten the crap out of you?

I chuckled about the snails on those rotting books as I very much doubt that the proud authors ever imagined that their literary creations would end up like that - abandoned in a graveyard and inhabited by slugs and snails. I guess that could even happen to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare!

Moving with Mitchell said...

I love the title of this post. Love the old chisel (the metal thing), too. I also have always enjoyed walking through cemeteries. So peaceful (or at least I HOPE so).

Sabine said...

I love reading about your finds, always do.

You are lucky your cemetery is still open, friends who live in South London wrote us today that their local one, a beauty especially with the bluebells about to come up, has been closed to the public as of today.

Mary said...

The cemetery where my grandmother is buried (Tower Hamlets) was, in fact, turned into a park and environmental learning center. Last burial there took place around 1965. Not sure whether it has been closed due to the virus (since I now live 3500+ miles away). Very few park areas in that neighborhood.

Alphie Soup said...

It stands to reason you would find that old bolster chisel in the cemetary; some stonemason forgot to collect it with his other tools when he finished work for the day.
It must have been there a long time. The cemetary looks as if it has been neglected for the past fifty years!
This neglect is the thing which makes it such an interesting place for walks; treasures to be found at every turn.


Ms. Moon said...

The pretty little purple pink flowers are what my grandkids call sour flowers. Oxalis. They like to nibble on them.
The cemetery is quite beautiful. I would love to wander around in it.

Edna B said...

Yup, I figured it was a chisel. Now I know what kind. I have to say that your cemetery is beautiful. I imagine it is very peaceful and comforting to walk through there. You stay safe and have a wonderful day, hugs, Edna B.

ellen abbott said...

of course everyone has already told you it's a chisel. I didn't know what kind though. I don't associate cemeteries with death and love to wander around old ones. been to one cemetery that didn't allow monuments of any kind, only a plaque laying flat on the ground. looked like a park but with no benches or playground equipment. in other words...boring though I suspect the effect was supposed to be peaceful.

people are so trashy. I really don't get why so many find it so hard to throw their trash in the trash. I wonder if the stash of books was someone's place to escape.

Anonymous said...

I guess even books will eventually find their way into the cemeteries to be buried eventually by snails and soil. It's the way of things that can be turned back into dust. I think it's lovely to walk in the cemetery. A lovely reminder of life's ongoing cycles.

Red said...

Cemeteries are a very peaceful place to walk as many people avoid them. Cemeteries have to be looked after as people do throw junk in them.

Vivian Swift said...

What is it with littering? What goes through the mind of a person who thinks it's alright to toss anything out onto the street? I live in the suburbs and I haven't seen much litter at all, and the situation in NYC, as of tow weeks ago on my last visit, was OK. But you've lived in Morocco -- people keep their courtyards spotless, but they don't see the pubic spaces as their common property and feel no obligation to practice the same level of cleanliness, so littering there is awful.

I like cemeteries. I'm not ending up in one, but I like visiting them. Frances Hodgson Burnett is buried about three miles from my home, along with her son Vivian. I especially like visiting those graves. There's lots of cherry trees in the grounds, but Burnett and family are buried under a stand of very old pine trees. It's kind of creepy, but always serene.

Sharon said...

Why on earth is it so hard to put things in a trash bin? I did some grocery shopping yesterday and I saw used gloves all over the parking lot. I can't imagine why anyone would think that is a good way to dispose of them.
That tool you found is interesting. It looks like it's been there for a very long time. It makes me wonder how old it is. I love seeing the flowers at the cemetery. Those bright pink/purple ones really pop against that grayish background.

Allison said...

In the US, people frequently leave their gloves and masks in the shopping cart. So the poor cart wranglers have to pick them up, throw them away and clean the bottom of the cart. People should not do that. France has beautiful cemeteries. They use a lot of porcelain flowers on the graves, they're quite something to see.

Linda Sue said...

people are disgusting generally, you are not. Thank you for picking off the snails, so thoughtful. I agree that cemeteries are very peaceful, calm, When i travel, or used to travel...those days may be over, I like to visit the local cemeteries, quiet , pensive, nature having it's way...

Catalyst said...

I was watching a t.v. show called "Pickers" yesterday. It's about a couple of guys who own an antique store and their adventures going to homes where people have hoarded stuff and going through it and buying items they can re-sell. Yesterday's episode was videoed at a home in Minnesota where the late owner had filled, and I mean filled, with stuff he had collected over a long life. I hope you don't turn into a hoarder, Steve, but I think your sense of order and neatness will prevent that.

jenny_o said...

That's a cool "metal thing" - and good to have had it identified by several commenters.

So glad you removed the slugs from the books before discarding them! I wouldn't have expected anything different from you, but it's still nice to know :)

Penelope said...

I am fascinated with cemeteries. The older, the better. I even like viewing Sidestep Adventures on YouTube as they explore old cemeteries in Ga. A cemetery is a novel. All those people who end up together in death as a community. There are so many women buried with only 'wife' inscribed.
I love the photo of the iron cross.

Steve Reed said...

Frances: That was my first guess too -- a chisel.

FranfromHove: Excellent! Thanks for the exact name!

YP: Dust to dust, as they say! I'm far more frightened of real live people than any ghoul.

Mitchell: Yes, they are peaceful. I really enjoy going there. So much history, and as I said, I see something new every time.

Sabine: That's a shame! I hope ours doesn't go the same way.

Mary: I've never been to a cemetery over that way. I should check it out one day! (When we can travel again.) Is it just called Tower Hamlets Cemetery?

Alphie: It's actually quite well-maintained in some areas; the rear part of the cemetery was allowed to become wildly overgrown and the edges are still very woodsy. (That's where I tend to find the trash.) And yes, I had the same thought about the bolster chisel -- probably left behind decades ago by someone installing a headstone.

Ms Moon: We have some oxalis in our garden, I believe. There's also a purple-leaved type with yellow flowers.

Edna: It's like taking a walk in the woods!

Ellen: I think they were deliberately discarded there, but who knows why. It seems like a lot of trouble to lug a stack of books into the cemetery rather than simply putting them out at the curb or in the rubbish bin.

Robin: That is certainly true. The circle of life!

Red: Yeah, it's weird how they tend to collect rubbish. I just don't get that at all.

Vivian: I've never understood littering. But as you pointed out, part of it may be cultural -- a different sense of responsibility toward public places and that kind of thing. To be fair, it's not always easy to FIND a rubbish bin in the UK, but there are many of them in the cemetery. I didn't know Frances Hodgson Burnett lived on Long Island!

Sharon: I guess people don't want to get in their cars with their dirty gloves, but STILL. Don't just dump them in the parking lot for someone ELSE to deal with! Sheesh!

Allison: I went to Pere Lachaise when I went to Paris many years ago, but I don't think I've been to any other French cemeteries. Next time I get back to France maybe I'll explore one!

Linda Sue: They are nice green spaces! I felt bad for the poor snails, just minding their own business. (To the extent that they have any business.)

Catalyst: I've seen that show! I've read that the difference between hoarding and collecting is organization. Although I write often about things I find, I don't keep everything. A lot of it eventually goes to charity or goes into the trash. (I'll keep the chisel, though!)

Jenny-O: Poor snails! I didn't want anyone to think I'd wantonly killed them.

Penelope: That's a cool way to look at it -- a novel, a community of people. (Kind of like "Spoon River Anthology," right?) Fortunately here the wives are usually mentioned by name, even on the old Victorian headstones, although often below the husband's name.

Sarah said...

Interesting to see what you find on your walks. I like looking around churchyards and cemeteries too, as there is always something to read for a start! Also they tend to have wild areas which are like being in the countryside. I like your metal thing-I would have taken that home too. And, like you, I always take some rubbish home when I go to the foreshore. There is lots of plastic there. I have also noticed lots of discarded masks and gloves since all this started. I often see gloves on the foreshore, as people wear them to search. I am always a bit disappointed that a mudlark would leave rubbish behind though. I am sore it is only a few.

Mary said...

Here's the council link regarding Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park: