Gravestones and Jeeves in Stoke Newington

The middle weekend of February. The second of three weekends that I set aside to do my U.S. taxes. Ugh.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t still do something interesting! I spent all morning figuring out the accounts for my house in Seattle, which I’m renting through Airbnb (surprise: it’s making money), and then hopped on the bus to the nearby neighborhood of Stoke Newington. It’s a bit further out from central London than where I live, but some of my colleagues live there, and all of the locals seem to think it’s pretty neat. So I thought I’d check it out.

Turns out it’s not all that different from where I live. A stretch of high street that is full of shops, cafes, and estate agent offices. I’m guessing the main attraction is that property prices are probably lower than my neighborhood.

But still — the highlights:

They have a “park” that is actually a terrifically overgrown, ramshackle graveyard jam-packed with headstones in various states of decrepitude. It dates back to the early 1800s when this area was outside the city limits and all the city cemeteries were full. What a wonderfully gothic place for a run.

Nestled amidst the tombstones were snowdrops and crocuses, the first harbingers of spring. The blooming of the snowdrops had actually been covered during the morning news stories this week — and the fact that this country of gardeners would care so much about some tiny flowers just served to deepen my affection for the English.

On my way back to the bus stop I stopped at a little independent bookshop for a browse. I stumbled across a P.G. Wodehouse novel that both reminded me I had been meaning to read some P.G. Wodehouse novels, and seemed like a good candidate to be my first one (what with the plot apparently centered on an antique milk jug). I read the first page, laughed out loud, and purchased it on the spot.

I was so delighted with my new friends Jeeves and Bertie that when I got home I made myself a pot of strawberry-lemonade herbal tea and told myself I could read for as long as the tea was warm before getting back the tedium of taxes.

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