Found in the neighbourhood: some lockdown discoveries
I have lived in Ealing for 39 years, and in our present home in South Ealing for 34 years, but I never knew until very recently that Margot Fonteyn lived near here, or that Agatha Christie’s parents are buried in our local cemetery. I didn’t know that Spencer Walpole, who was Home Secretary under three different Tory governments in the mid-19th century, is also buried there; nor that a local church, less than a mile from our house, is dedicated to his father-in-law, Spencer Perceval, the only British Prime Minister to be assassinated.
And the reason I now know about these things? They have been my silver linings in the cloud, the big black cloud, that is COVID-19. This year’s lockdowns in the UK have curtailed our travel plans and at times (in the spring and again more recently) restricted us to our local neighbourhoods. But throughout the tightest of these restrictions we have been permitted to take some exercise in the form of one local walk, run or cycle ride per day. I don’t cycle or run (my usual exercise is swimming, not possible under lockdown) so I have been walking, usually with my husband Chris.
As Leya writes in setting this week’s Lens-Artist Challenge, Found in the Neighbourhood: ‘We are all trapped in our Covid19 bubbles – and at least here in Europe we are facing tough restrictions again. This gives us a chance to rediscover our surroundings – indoors and outdoors.’
Ealing is a west London suburb, sometimes called the Queen of the Suburbs; borough surveyor Charles Jones coined the phrase in 1902 to encourage people to move into the many houses built here during that period. It is one of the leafiest suburbs and we are fortunate to have two lovely parks nearby. But the parks can get busier at weekends and holiday periods; and it can be boring following the same route every day.
South Ealing Cemetery
So we started to explore parts of our locality that we’ve never visited before, including the nearby cemetery. We must have driven past this hundreds of times, and walked past too, but never once ventured inside. And what a beautiful, tranquil spot we discovered, especially in spring when the ground in places was carpeted with bluebells!
Boston Manor Park
Another new discovery has been Boston Manor Park. This is a little further to walk than our nearest parks but nevertheless can be considered ‘in our neighbourhood’. It has a small but beautiful lake, which attracts lots of waterfowl including herons; some lovely ancient yew trees; and woodland walks leading down to a stretch of the Grand Union Canal and River Brent. And all this in the shadow of the M4 flyover which we have driven so many times!
I am grateful to Leya for prompting this reflection on some of the pleasures to be found in my neighbourhood!
Sometimes, things close at hand get missed. Always fun to discover what those are.
Absolutely! If the pandemic has any sort of silver lining, for me this is it 🙂
Ahh. History. Ain’t it amazin’, Gracie. Great photos. Well done.
I don’t get the reference to Gracie but thanks for stopping by!
Amazing Grace, the hymn, which has nothing to do with your post. Ignore me, everyone else does. 🤪😂
You’re lucky to have such nice nature so close at hand. Nice to see a heron lurking there too!
Yes, Ealing is said to be one of the greenest of the London boroughs – and yet we’re only 30 minutes by Tube from Piccadilly Circus (when not under lockdown, that is 🙁 )
Some great finds here Sarah. Apart from my multiple visits the Ealing Broadway Station to connect with the Crentral Line in the days before the direct Airport/Hayes ( where my aunt lives ).. Paddington train I know very little about this area so am enjoying your more recent local posts, including this one.
Thanks Albert – it’s fun to find out what lies beyond the railway track and station, isn’t it?!
What a lovely post Sarah – and what fun when old becomes new again! How nice that you took advantage of your newfound home time to explore new places. And you found some wonderful spots – beautifully captured.
Thank you Tina, I’m glad you enjoyed the read!
This is such a beautiful post – just what I hoped for with this theme. What gems you have found! And walking cemeteries is something I always do when I visit a new place. It is calming and soothing – and beautiful. And surprising!
Thank you so much Leya 😀 I’m really pleased you enjoyed it!
And I really did!
It’s good to see some local info and photos of your local patch. Sometimes, it’s the smaller details in life that have the biggest impact. Cemeteries are a perfect example, and of course getting closer to nature is another.
Thanks Malcolm 🙂 I know you have spent a lot of time really getting to know your own area, but given where you live I am not surprised! To me, while Ealing is a great place to live, it seems relatively ordinary – but even the most ordinary of London suburbs have their sights and points of interest 🙂
Totally agree Sarah. Everywhere has 🙂
I think we are all guilty of not exploring or getting to know the area that we live in enough. It’s strange how we all come to take it for granted and see our local surroundings as “ordinary” but when we take a moment to look a little deeper there are some little gems to be found.
Yes, absolutely Ryan – and if this pandemic has had any benefits (and they’re hard to find given the health and financial suffering), it’s that we’ve been forced to appreciate the small things in life, especially those accessible to us in our immediate area
I completely agree with appreciating the small things. I’m not playing down the hardships that the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns has brought. But in many ways this year I have been the healthiest I have ever been. Less stress due to working from home more, being able to connect with nature more during the Spring & Summer has helped loads to.