For a long time now, Liesel has wanted to visit The Hardy Tree in London. If you don’t know what that is, you’re not alone. Most people that we’ve told have never heard of it, either.
Before he became a well-known writer, Thomas Hardy worked in the cemetery at St Pancras Old Church. When the then new railways began to encroach on the graveyard, many bodies had to be exhumed and reburied. A young man was given the task of storing some gravestones. His solution was to place them around an ash tree in the graveyard, presumably intending to relocate them at a future date.
A century and a half later, the tree is still doing well, it has taken some of the stones to its heart, you can see the roots above the gravestones. Just another episode in the fascinating life of this church. The sign tells you all you need to know:
(Oh, here’s a tip: if you need the lavatory and you’re in the area, go to St Pancras Station, where the facilities are free.)
Yesterday, Liesel and Mick were both pleased to see the tree in real life after all this time. We should be inspired to read a Thomas Hardy novel I suppose, but I have quite a backlog and Liesel’s reading list is partly determined by her WI reading group.
We caught a bus to Trafalgar Square, mainly to see the latest installation on the fourth plinth. I never would have thought that 10,000 empty, repurposed, date syrup cans would look so good. The sign tells you all you need to know:
Fourth plinth: how a winged bull made of date syrup cans is defying Isis.
My favourite ever is still Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle from 2010, which can now be seen at my favourite museum, the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich.
Have a look at past commissions.
Nelson from the top of his column watched as we visited the so-called Lilliputian police station at the south-east corner of the Square. No longer a police station, of course, it contains bags of salt for ‘weather control’ and a comms link to the BBC.
As always in London, we walked much further than originally planned. Leicester Square, the Odeon is being refurbished and will in the fullness of time be more comfortable, offer more choice and no doubt, be even more expensive. We walked through Chinatown which always has the same smell, which neither of us could identify. On to Covent Garden, always busy, and then to the Duchess Theatre where we bought tickets for a performance in a couple of weeks time: thanks for the theatre tokens, Helen and Adam.