I live in a city, the UK’s second city, Birmingham. It’s an urban sprawl spread over a vast area. There are canals, parks and areas of historical importance such as the world renowned Jewellery Quarter’. The parks are mainly small areas apart from Canon Hill and Pype Hayes. However, in recent years, the city leaders have done a lot in re-generating the centre to help make it one of the most inviting places in the country.
Every now and then I like to escape on foot to somewhere I can completely lose myself, far from the madding crowd. One of these hideaways of peaceful retreat in an otherwise thriving, bustling city environment for me is my local cemetery. Originally opened in 1883 on an 8 acre site, it has since expanded to 64 acres.
I find it a wonderful place to be, no matter what time of the year. The mixture of mature trees, ornamental work, epitaphs and names really is mesmerising. When it’s dry, I can walk for a good couple of hours, just me, my thoughts and the thousands of others that have been laid to rest here. Sometimes I might be accompanied by a squirrel, looking for a treat or a Robin hopping around on the floor just a couple of feet away.
There’s a grave that is a final resting place of my Aunty Hannah who passed away in 1948, and I recall growing up visiting it with my parents every now and then and placing a floral tribute. There’s only me left now, and it occurred to me that when my time comes to leave this earth, there’ll be no one left that will have any real connection with the grave. I find that quite sad, but when I look around, I see many graves that have obviously met with the same fate.
My wife enjoys her photography and takes it very seriously. These shots were taken by her during the middle part of October 2015. I’m hoping to take it up again myself now that I have the luxury of ‘retirement’ time. I used to do a lot years ago, way before the digital age. I would even develop my own 35mm colour films and print them, which wasn’t a lot of fun in those days of mixing chemicals, keeping the exact temperatures, working in total darkness and spending large sums of money on photographic paper that sometimes would end up in the waste paper basket.