HIGHGATE CEMETERY - TELLING TALES
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Posted: Nov 05, 2009 10:21:35 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

As I walked passed Edward’s desk earlier I dropped off a copy of the Ham & High on it. This was received with gratitude and later I heard the happy sound of it flying into the waste bin. The words “All clear this week people” being broadcast across the office.  It is always a bit nerve racking to see what newspapers print about you, even if it is true.

The office was quite tranquil until Jessica burst through the door yelling about Sophie Parrot. Sophie had sent the board, the before and after photographs of the area, she cleared of ivy.  This has ignited another flood of words on every side with people calling for the subject to be addressed for the good of the cemetery. Jessica wants to sweep it under the carpet and continue as before. Others are saying it cannot be allowed to continue as it is destroying the very fabric of the cemetery.

I can now see what the topic of today will be and it certainly is not peace.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Nov 06, 2009 1:06:46 pm
Manager Nigel



Morning,

Everyone is on slow moving clean up duty this morning as the embers of the Guy Fawkes celebrations die out. Things got off to a popping start with people whirling sparklers and sipping a plentiful supply of Edward’s homemade wine. That continued to flow all night as the crowd got rowdy and some streamed around doing the rumba up and down the Cuttings and around the Colonnade. Felicity led the merry band and was very energetic all evening.

Molly was busy on the catering side with potatoes, sausages and various other concoctions cooking in foil at the base of the bonfire. There needed to be plenty of food as the wine flowed like a river. Sophie Parrott was having a jolly time with Edward downing the wine and drawing on a never-ending box of cigarettes.

Jessica had been present at the event and had been in moderate mood all evening. She was not too happy at the guy being launched on to the bonfire by the ground staff and rockets cascading down about her. The evening came to one almighty bang when the Big Cheese asked when she was going to vacate her office. This sent Jessica off sparking and rotating like a catherine wheel. That certainly made a great finale that we will all be paying for in the coming weeks.

I must go and chivvy the staff up, as they seem to have disappeared.

Nigel.
Manager Nigel

Posted: Nov 09, 2009 11:45:24 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

Jessica was the first in this morning to show various board members and Eveline Withering the desecration of the ivy. Jessica has been talking about her for weeks and has said that Eveline will agree with everything she has said. Eveline has known the cemetery for years, but has kept a very low profile of late.

Once the motley crew assembled, they marched off to the loftier parts of the cemetery to discuss the state of it. Whilst there, Eveline commented that the place was looking a tad overgrown. This was enough for Jessica to do a 180-degree turn and inhale sharply, but in true politician fashion, they returned to talking of the possibility of a slight trimming of the ivy.

As they reached the Colonnade, Sophie Parrot greeted them in cloud of cigarette smoke and listened avidly to the discussion. She smiled and drew on her cigarette “Mrs Tombstone, I do believe you have just performed a U turn”. That was enough and she was gone in a flash with her secateurs. Jessica frowned, but withheld any comment.

Since it is now permissible for the groundsmen to do their job, I am going to send them out straight away. Currently they are hanging around like a bunch of sales assistants.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Nov 10, 2009 10:36:53 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

Jessica was rattling around her office, fuming about Sophie Parrot. Sophie had organised a group of volunteers to go off into the hindmost part of the cemetery and tackle the ivy infestation. The happy band trotted off, brandishing their secateurs and singing songs.

Jessica remained in her office, as she had scheduled a meeting with the librarian, George Dandythorpe. This was in response to “another letter” from Mrs Parrot regarding acess to the inner sanctum (the archives). For years the archives have been Jessica’s office and James’ hidey-hole for doing crosswords. So much so, that it has never been open to anyone and we do not have a clue what is actually in there. Obviously, there is the top-secret copy of the landscape plan and a few burial records, but what else is there is an utter mystery.

Sophie recently inflamed Jessica by asking for a list of the content of the inner sanctum. Therefore, that is why Dandythorpe is turning up to cobble together a list of goodness knows what. I am waiting with bated breath to see how this plays out.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Nov 11, 2009 11:00:42 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

I am sitting at my desk trying to consume a bacon sarny and my morning caffeine shot. Loud raucous laughter seeps in from the general office as Thomas proceeds to model a hat, coat, and imitate a well-known personality. All the groundsmen are singing and clapping as Jessica thunders through the door, nostrils flaying. People dive asunder and shuffled out, leaving her eye balling me through the glass partition.

We stared at each other, as deer in headlights, for what seemed like an age. Thankfully, the telephone rang and it was Sebastian Morrow, the undertaker. “Hello Sebastian, oh how terrible, of course we can accommodate. Let me take a few details” I stayed on the phone long after Sebastian had hung up on me. Jessica got bored and went off to talk to George Dandythorpe about the Parrot’s list.

I am spending the day on site supervising the digging of another hole. Sophie Parrot is fighting back a rather aggressive ivy triffid. She is very nimble with a pair of secateurs.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Nov 11, 2009 1:41:24 pm
Spam



"Thunders through the door, nostrils flaying"....

I'm in tears.  Thanks Nigel :)

Posted: Nov 12, 2009 11:29:22 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

I sit in amazement as I watch Edward, of senior years, leap around like a grasshopper trying to swot a fly with the Ham & High newspaper. It is unclear if something in the paper has made him snap, but it is quite a performance. Felicity is trying to soothe him, but to no avail and the fly continues to buzz loudly.

Jessica is up at the North Lodge trying to teach the groundsmen how to use a rake. She seems to have concluded that they do not know how to use one and is determined to change that. I am sure she will return rattled, as they will certainly let it be known what she can do with her rake training sessions.

George Dandythorpe, has been cornered by Sophie Parrot and is being crossed questioned. Poor bloke is looking a little peaky.

Nigel

P.S. Spam, I am regularly amazed at the art of contortion.
Manager Nigel

Posted: Nov 12, 2009 12:52:19 pm
Caroline Coombes



I was so pleased to read a reference to Sebastian Morrow (whichever one) yesterday, as I was beginning to think that he'd taken umbrage over the Elspeth business and was now offering his services to Kensal Green instead. Come on, Sebastian, let us have your continuing views on the crazy world of Audrey Niffenegger and Highgate Cemetery.

And, what's happened to our Jessica? Has she finally been suppressed by those johnny-come-latelies? I think we should be told.

Incidentally, has anyone read a perfectly wonderful book by Neil Gaiman called 'The Graveyard Book'? Habitues of Highgate will find much that is familiar......

Keep up the good work Nigel. Where would the cemetery be without you?

Caroline Coombes

Posted: Nov 13, 2009 11:37:20 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

It is raining hard outside and everyone is in a drab kind of mood. Felicity is playing Solitaire on the computer and Edward is deeply engrossed in a crossword. Jessica chats to someone from the other world through the Ouija board.

E-Bay has lost its savour for me and I am tuning into other things. In the Colonnade, the groundsmen toss logs and vast lumps of wood at each other. I am sure someone will get hurt whilst playing their little game.

Molly is on duty in the pink hut on the East Side. We are taking it in turns to go across with tickets and tea. The silence is broken by the occasional crackling of the radio and updates on the density of rain falling. The only people visiting are those beating their way to the monument of Karl Marx.

Roll on the jaunt to the pub as I am sure that will stimulate some life round here.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Nov 16, 2009 10:15:05 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

As usual, I am plagued by the usual complaints and stories of the weekend’s activities. Jessica was present at the gate yesterday. In her words, “greeting and offering people friendly advice”. The reality being she prowls up and down the tour queue cross questioning people if they have read the rules and by-laws penned by her good hand.

“Excuse me madam, you can not come in here with those bare shoulders. You will offend the dead”. Is one of Jessica’s most quoted remarks. Each tour group leaves the Colonnade after a lecture on donations dressed like a jumble sale. On their return, the loaned items are wrenched back and the next tour is trussed up. Then the usual frisking takes place for any loose change and readies.

Nigel.
Manager Nigel

Posted: Nov 16, 2009 2:11:39 pm
Spam



Ahhhhh yes, the fishmoth-ridden old togs that even a charity shop would reject in disgust.  Do they still hold the alluring aroma of moth balls and second-hand sweat?

I must confess that I do miss seeing sheepish tourists looking as though they've run blindfolded through an Oxfam branch with 'fashions' from 40 years ago  :D 

Posted: Nov 17, 2009 12:27:30 pm
Manager Nigel



Morning,

Jessica drifted in this morning in full mourning dress and flitted about the office. She then went to join the gathering mourners for the funeral of Jenner Tiddlethwaite.

Jenner Tiddlethwaite was an auctioneer a few miles out and a long time resident of Highgate. He handled many of the charity auctions that took place in the village and called order to public meetings. His voice and gavel have boomed above and broken up the rumpus generated by FoHC AGM’s. Many have said he was wasted as an auctioneer and should have been a town crier.

He is being laid to rest beside his late wife in an airy part of the cemetery. He requested that his gavel be placed with him in case he should awake and want to let the world know about it. I am sure we would hear his voice without that instrument being involved.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Nov 18, 2009 8:06:41 am
Roberta Cratchit



Keep up the good work Nigel, your posts are the high point of my otherwise grey mornings at Scrooge & Marley.....

Posted: Nov 18, 2009 11:26:38 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

Eveline Withering has come in to spend some time walking round the cemetery assessing the bio culture and diversity of the place. Everyone is painfully aware that we currently have a rather zealous crop of ivy and not much else.  Jessica has offered to accompany her around, but Eveline has arranged to meet with other individuals. This could be a new renaissance for the flora and fauna of Highgate.

Sophie Parrot is marching off in the distance waving her arms and chatting with Eveline, as they head off into the undergrowth. Jessica looks on in a woeful mood and returns to debating today’s crossword with James. Thomas has appeared and is talking with Edward and Felicity; with light flourishes, he describes a situation with a grave owner, something to do with a watering can, a tap and a gust of wind.

Molly’s voice crackles over the radio “more tickets on Strathcona, please”.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Nov 19, 2009 10:42:35 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

We had another film crew in early this morning, working on a new period drama. Chickie Richkins is playing the role of a young widow. She has been running up and down the Egyptian Avenue dressed in full mourning wear. Wailing and tearing at herself as she throws herself against the door of her late husband’s resting place.

The whole thing was far too dramatic for me and I returned to my office. However, Dickens would have been proud and Jessica was enthralled by every minute of this tear jerker.

The groundsmen have been sitting on a mausoleum roof, like a row of sparrows, laughing extremely hard. So much so that Thomas fell off the roof. Thankfully he was not damaged; he is built like a little brick building and does things like that all the time. Jessica caught the lot of them and sent them back to work. Needless to say, they started climbing the trees for another view.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Nov 20, 2009 12:12:01 pm
Manager Nigel



Morning,

I had a visit this morning from Gerald Bettleton, to discuss his funeral. He bought a plot many years ago and has taken great delight in planning his final farewell. So much so that, in the next few weeks, he intends to have a pre-funeral bun fight. This event will include the allotted speakers giving their farewell talks before he has actually gone. Gerald wants to enjoy every minute of the affair and plans a huge banquet. I hope I get an invitation.

We have been through the usual array of epitaphs. I asked him how he felt about “In Loving Memory” and he chipped in “They don’t”. I shifted uncomfortably in my seat, whilst thinking of another suggestion. I noticed Jessica rummaging through Edward’s desk and spied my opportunity. I called her in and asked if she could help Gerald with the words to be carved on his gravestone. Jessica’s face lit up and she was very happy to help as he trotted off obediently.

Sophie Parrot stuck her head round the door and asked if I had seen George Dandythorpe. I said I had not seen him for a few days and was not sure when he was next in. “Oh really, I am still chasing for my list and he appears to be keeping a low profile”, said Sophia, “I will find him eventually”. She left with a smile and a wave.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Nov 23, 2009 10:39:16 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

Felicity is standing with a mop and bucket in the general office surveying the wet floor. She flips the mop back and forth with pursed lips. It rained most of the weekend and the guides tramped in the water and wrung their sodden clothes out. The groundsmen have been making it worse by punting back and forth on tea trays, but they were ejected when Felicity got busy.

One tour, clad in raincoats and golfing umbrellas, took off in a gust of wind and had an aerial view of the cemetery. Several other tour groups paddled across the Colonnade like a clutch of ducklings heading for undergrowth.

Sophie Parrot passed through the office, still on the hunt for George Dandythorpe, but made do with Edward. The office is filling up now and I have just had a call from Sebastian Morrow about a burial. I am off to talk with the gravediggers before Jessica arrives.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Nov 24, 2009 12:13:43 pm
Manager Nigel



Morning,

Eveline Withers has continued to call at the cemetery and is working on ideas to increase the diversity with the flora and fauna. The Board have given their blessing to this project and things press on.

In this spirit of moving forward, Kelly Wortnold, a volunteer working near the Avenue, uncovered the sleeping angel. She felt very pleased with her work of releasing it from the clutches of the ivy. As Kelly returned to the office, she mentioned her good deed to Jessica. Jessica’s face went from puce to volcanic in a matter of a second. Kelly, sensing the danger, moved quickly out of range as Mount St Helens blew for the second time in a century.

Jessica proceeded to lecture, to no one in particular, that the monuments must remain covered in ivy. Her words were stalled at the arrival of Sophie Parrot, who walked right up to her and greeted her with “Morning Mrs T, have you seen George Dandythorpe?” Jessica stood there chewing her tongue as Sophie marched up the stair to the archives. She followed with a face that could sour milk.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Nov 25, 2009 12:39:21 pm
Manager Nigel



Morning,

I proposed an idea to the board to tarmac the path between the Colonnade and the North Gate. The board has been deliberating over it for awhile, but it certainly caused some consternation. Jessica gave me several lambastings for even thinking up such an idea and several other people have been bent out of shape over it.

With this general attitude about the cemetery, and the fact I seemed to be pounced upon when I least expect it, I have shut myself up in my office for safety and from being sought after. I have not had much luck as I am being eyeballed by Felicity, who in turn is being spoken to by Jessica. 

Oh roll on lunchtime and I will go and drown myself in a pint.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

Posted: Nov 26, 2009 10:52:37 am
Manager Nigel



Morning,

A water fight turned nasty this morning whilst I was getting out of my car. Thomas was hosing down one of the mechanical diggers and then sprinkled a couple of the groundsmen. They retaliated and before you knew it, a full-blown fight was going on in the middle of the Colonnade. Jessica walked straight into the midst of the crossfire and, got extremely drenched.

Jessica started to walk towards Thomas, making sure her hand was firmly in her glove. Thomas noticed the particularly mean look on her face and scarpered up the Colonnade steps. He is hiding out at the top of the cemetery, but he knows Jessica will find him.

Sophie Parrot turned up to observe the final performance and greeted Jessica. “Oh Mrs T, you must be careful with the battles you get embroiled in”. Jessica stood there with a vein throbbing in her forehead.

Nigel
Manager Nigel

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