More London

London again today, so here’s a bit of local history:

1850s London was bursting. The population had doubled between 1801-1850.
There was simply no more space to bury the bodies. And with cremation still taboo, the London Necropolis Railway was founded. The idea was to transport dead bodies and their accompanying mourners out to Surrey by rail for funerals and burials, so everyone in the party (but one) would have a return ticket back to London.

Wow.

The railway lasted for 87 years until 1941, running nearly every day, and at its peak it carried 2,000 bodies a year. In total 203,041 people were buried in Brookwood Cemetery during that time.

Given that our lodgings for this leg of the trip are also in Surrey, I was hopeful that this London Necropolis Railway terminus (mmm, I know) would be somewhere on the right side of the city for us to get to. And I was not disappointed:

Right next door (T&Cs apply) to Waterloo. I’ll hopefully be teaching the kids a bit of gory history later today.

London

Google Trips tells me that I am spending the day in London today.

Yes, the train from Paris arrived here yesterday evening, but then it was all about the dash to get down to our hosts’ place after a day of travel.

Today, we get to explore.

Last time we were in The Big Smoke was just 10 months ago on a day trip down from Sheffield. [pics]

The light was awful that day. But perfect if you wanted to get a menacing shot of a Tower of London raven.

It’s also Tynwald Day in the Isle of Man. According to Google Trips, we’ll be popping over there on Saturday morning.

Popping in

Well, hello.

I’ve been having the same problem logging into the back of the blog as I had last time we were over in Europe. That’s why I haven’t been in touch.

Plus we’ve been busy drinking wine.

Fortunately, the good news is that this was an intermittent problem, and this is one of those times that things are working, so I’m diving in.

The canal trip is going well. We’ve just moored up in Auxerre: the biggest place we’ve been to since we left Paris. It’s been a very leisurely trip down the canal, mooring up wherever we feel like overnight and stopping off for lunch or dinner on any appropriate bank.

The boat has been great, the people have been friendly, my French has been surprisingly good, the wine has flowed freely.

There’s a city to explore now, so please excuse me…

I’ll check in again when and if I can.

Thanks for reading.

Burgundy

We’re heading south this morning. South into Burgundy country.

Says Google:

Burgundy is a historical region in east-central France.
It’s famous for its Burgundy wines as well as pinot noirs and Chardonnay, Chablis and Beaujolais. The area is crisscrossed by a network of canals and studded with grand châteaux.

Wines, castles and canals. The other holy trinity.

And in fact, home for the next seven days is one of those canals: the Canal du Nivernais.

Construction of the canal began in 1784, initially to aid the flottage (floating) of timber rafts from the forests of the Morvan national park to Paris, via Clamecy and Auxerre. However, in reality, the canal was quickly established as an important communication route, carrying timber, building stone, grain and wine out of the region, and bringing in coal.

As I mentioned some time ago, I’m less than 100% sure that this will be – if you’ll excuse the pun – plain sailing. But I am very much looking forward to it.

Again, if you’re not following my Instagram, you are likely to be missing out: this is supposed to be a very beautiful bit of France, and I fully intend to ‘tog it to bits.

Watch this that space.

Paris last time

It was 2012 when we took the kids to Disneyland Paris. Not really my scene, but you adjust your expectations and you have a great time (see my recent Sun City review to see what I mean).

We were there for a few days, and what surprised me more than anything else on that trip was my 6-year-old son’s desire to spend a day in Paris. One would imagine that an entire amusement park literally on his doorstep would have been more than enough entertainment, but no, apparently not.

And so we (just he and I – his sister wanted to go and meet Cinderella) caught the train into Paris and we went up the Eiffel Tower.

The lifts were fully booked, and so we had to walk up the stairs to the 2ème étage. Despite the dreary conditions, it was a lot more fun that you’d likely imagine. It was the first time that the boy had requested “a big thing” and we’d gone and done it, solely because he wanted to.

You can see a few more photos in this album.

Anyway. This all happened on the 26th June 2012. Exactly 6 years ago today.
I’m not planning to get into a regular June 26th trip to Paris every six years: this was entirely a chance occurrence.

Still, who knows where we’ll be on June 26th 2024?