This is Highgate Cemetary, a few minutes from where I live.
This may be quite depressing, but it's a slice of life in a quite ordinary tree lined avenue
in a very quiet place 3 minutes from Parliament Hill.
The houses are terraced, Edwardian, and each house is different to any other in the street.
Some are on three floors, some on two.
There are small patio gardens, and front gardens, small but well cared for and always
flowering, except for mid-winter.
I have lived here for 30 years. I wanted a smaller place in Primrose Hill, but ny father hated it and said my desk wouldn't fit. He was right, and he found me my present home, telling me I'd be safe. The ceilings are high and I have many books.
Returning to my subject.
My neighbours have mostly lived here the same length of time as I have.
We are a mixture of teachers, a lawyer, architect....two wonderful men, Wally a former taxi driver, and Bob a former builder....both fought in 2nd world war.
Lovely wives. Slowly, slowly they have sold their cars, have the odd day out in Brighton. I see they have more difficulty walking year by year. Most use walking sticks now, and I remember them as vigourous men.
Next door a well known art teacher.....slightly barmy wife, who had a nervous breakdown in my home. Her very handsome husband would be drinking and cavorting locally with admiring young ladies. One day wife found him on floor after suffering major stroke. So their roles were reversed, he was in hospital for months, and then helpless at home. However slowly he began to walk very slowly with a stick and was soon awarded an MBE. He was painting again, he was making progress.
Last year, at night, slowly crossing the main Highgate Road....he was run over and has been on life support ever since. That was about a year ago. Meanwhle his wife has had several malignant tumours removed.
Across the road lives a wondeful man called Del, he still works as an upholsterer.
He had 2 small sons. The youngest Ian, washed my car, he grew up and went to Australia, married and had 5 childen. Del has another son who lives nearbye..he has 2 sons now and Del acts as Grandma and Grandpa, as his very sweet wife died a few years ago.
In the past 2 years people who I saw and spoke to passing in the road have vanished.
Wally, who knows everything told me 2 have died, and one is in a home.
Jill was a successful teacher, she started to limp badly...she needed a hip replacement...she had to wait nearly 2 years for the op. which had been postponed time after time. Because of the long wait the op was a failure and had to be re-done. Because the extra weight on her good hip...well that that is now collapsing and she needs another op on that one.
Another neighbour was stabbed to death by her mentally disturbed neice.
Dogs have died, cats too. Everyone is getting visibly older. I find it extrememly upsetting, and I haven't told you half of it.
Three other neighbours have died in the past 5 years. My next door neighbour on other side is an alcohlic, married to a lawyer, who lost most of his money with Equitable Life, so is still working. He spends hours polishing his shoes in his patio every morning.
I could go on and on, but I'll stop now.
I keep wondering who will be next.