Disney Quote of the Day

“Salagadoola, mechika boola, bibbidi bobbidi boo!” – Fairy Godmother, Cinderella

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Because sometimes, we just need to forget all the proper stuff and spout a bit of nonsense to make the magic happen! Be silly this week, guys!

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Be a Fairy Godmother (or Godfather!) yourself and donate.

BONUS PICTURE! Here’s me with the lady herself:

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(Belated) Disney Quote of the Week!

I was so wrapped up in my first day of rehearsals last week that I forgot to post!

Here it is – a short and sweet one!:

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“Today is a good day to try.” – Quasimodo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Oh, Quasi! Ever the optimist! And how right you are! Often we get clouded over by our own inhibitions, grievances, prejudices, and fears. Not every day is going to be a day for success, but every day should be a good day to try. (In spite of anything Yoda may say to the contrary.)

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Run Somewhere Spooky: Highgate Cemetery – Part 2, West Cemetery

Week two of my Spooktacular runs series. (I use the word “run” rather liberally this week. I took a walking tour, then walked around myself for a couple more hours. I think it would be rude to actually try to PR in an active cemetery!)

Highgate Cemetery Part Two: West Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery was the third of seven cemeteries built around London to compensate for the population boom of the 19th century. Between 1800 and 1840 the population of London literally doubled, and due to this increase (and some wide spread cholera outbreaks), the traditional churchyards of the time could no longer cope with the influx of bodies. Thus, seven for-profit necropolises were created, circling London, of which Highgate was probably the most fashionable place to be laid to your final rest.

The West Cemetery is the older of the two parts of Highgate Cemetery, and home to some of the more expensive and heavily sought after plots.

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Funeral services were held in the right side of this building for Church of England burials, or in the left chapel for “dissenters” or a-religious services

The design of Highgate Cemetery was the work of architect, Stephen Geary. The Victorians were obsessed with death and could be expected to spend about a third of their whole life savings on their funeral service and burial. Death was big business, so Highgate had to offer outstanding architecture and botanical gardens in order to compete with the other cemeteries of the era.

Geary cut an enormous courtyard into the hill, long enough, wide enough, and flat enough to allow a horse drawn hearse with up to six horses to pull into the graveyard and turn around elegantly and with much pomp.
60 caretakers were employed to look after Highgate Cemetery’s landscaping, which would have included many exotic plants that needed expert care.

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Highgate Cemetery’s earlier graves feature more pagan imagery. Early Victorians took an interest in Egyptian and classical symbolism. Urns, obelisks, palms, and lotuses were popular funereal symbols. Later, when Neo-Gothic design came into vogue, the Christian symbols of angels and the cross surpassed pagan symbols in popularity.

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The Mears Family plot. They were bell casters, noted for creating Big Ben and The Liberty Bell

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Symbols were often used to make reference to the deceased’s career in life. This general has cannons slipped into the fencing around his family tomb. As a sign of respect and acknowledgement that earthly things were no longer needed, such objects were always turned upside down.

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Three “steps” symbolising the ascension to Heaven through “faith”, “hope”, and “charity” and an obelisk pointing to Heaven.

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The grave of Highgate Cemetery’s first resident: Elizabeth Jackson of Little Windmill Street, Soho. She was buried on 26 May, 1839, six days after Highgate Cemetery’s official opening, at the ripe old age of 36.

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“We find these urns but then the trouble is finding where they belong.”

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Geary’s famous “Egyptian Avenue”, where the fabulously wealthy could stake out prime bits of post-mortem real estate and go to the afterlife in the ultimate in Victorian style.

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Obelisks, columns with symbolic lotus flowers on the base, wide doorways… Everything the Victorian Egyptophile could wish for to spend Eternity in!

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Remember what I said before about things being turned upside down in respect for the dead? Look at the key holes!

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22 days old…

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The only resting place more luxurious than the “Egyptian Avenue” was Geary’s “Circle of Lebanon”, an exclusive inner circle of mausoleums built around this (now 300 year old) Cedar of Lebanon

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Egyptian influenced doorway to a mausoleum in the “Circle of Lebanon”.

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This looks to be classical Greco-Roman inspired.

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The occupant of this grave, who’s name escapes me now, made a fortune touring the Home Counties with his menagerie. Among his exotic collection was Nero the Lion. Nero, who was raised entirely in captivity was said to be so gentle that he would let children climb on his back. When Nero died, his owner commissioned this sculpture of him, which was then made part of his own tomb.

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Julius Beer was a German immigrant, and outstandingly successful businessman in the latter part of the 19th century. When his very young daughter Ada tragically passed away, Julius was utterly devastated. He commissioned this mausoleum, by far the largest single standing tomb on the grounds in her honor. Purchasing the plot of land for Ā£500 and spending between Ā£3000-Ā£5000 on the building itself, Julius Beer spent the modern day equivalent of about Ā£3 million on his daughters shrine. We were allowed to peek inside (but not take photos) at the mosaic ceiling covered in gold leaf and at the statue he had commissioned of Ada being taken off to Heaven by an angel, which was copied from Ada’s actual death mask. Julius, his wife, and his son were later interred there.

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It’s literally so large that I couldn’t even remotely get it all in the photo.

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Looking down at the “Circle of Lebanon” from one level above.

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Without being hyperbolic, this cemetery is actually capable of killing you.

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This is the grave of Tom Sayers, one of the most visited graves on site. Sayers was a famous bare-fisted prize fighter in the 19th century. His beloved mastiff, Lion, depicted in stone on his tomb, was the chief mourner in his funeral, and therefore first in the procession behind his coffin. His wife was second.

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When the Great War broke out, the Highgate Cemetery caretakers were called away to fight, and the famous botanical gardens started to fall into disrepair. Attitudes toward mourning changed, and the pomp and ceremony of Victorian services was replaced with austere, private expressions of grief. Burials continued in the East Cemetery while the West Cemetery slowly became derelict. In the 1970s a group of locals banded together to rescue to Cemetery. They created a non-profit, charitable organization, The Friends of Highgate Cemetery, which takes the sole responsibility of management and restoration today, and subsists only on charity and admission prices for the Cemetery and tours.

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That’s all the spookiness I have in store for this week! Scare you later! šŸŽƒšŸ‘»šŸ’€šŸ˜±

Run Somewhere Spooky Week Two: Highgate Cemetery – Part 1, East Cemetery

For Week Two of my spooky October challenge, I went to Highgate Cemetery, one of seven Victorian cemeteries surrounding London, erected to compensate for the enormous population boom of the 19th century.

Part I: East Cemetery

The East Cemetery is the slightly younger of the two sections of Highgate Cemetery and is still very much an active cemetery today. Notable residents include Karl Marx and Douglas Adams.

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A personal pilgrimage of mine. Those are my lips. I forgot to bring flowers and my towel.

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Some of the newer graves tend to be a bit quirky.

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Horrifying rotted Virgin Mary right next to…

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Horrifying Chucky-esque cherub child thing.

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Really blurry London Fire Brigade Memorial picture. Sorry, guys…

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Buried tombstone. The unfortunate consequence of minimal upkeep.

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Bizarrely, it was overcast and drizzling when I took these pictures. I think the sun was peeking out at just the right angle to reflect the light on these tombstones here, resulting in two freakishly blown out pictures…

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I really want to stress how enormous, sprawling, and labyrinthine this cemetery is.

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Karl Marx

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Highgate has many living residents as well: squirrels, foxes, and the cats of the care takers all call the Cemetery home.

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The outstanding foliage really makes Highgate Cemetery as beautiful as it is macabre.

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1898 was a tough year for the Bannell family.

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Even in spite of still being an active cemetery with residents being constantly added and visitors daily, you can really see Nature reclaim her territory everywhere.

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Tales of bravery: two men who gave their lives to save others.

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I loved this statue. So peaceful.

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I don’t know who Lynne Ashcroft was, but I found this tribute to her very moving.

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MOST TERRIFYING THING IN THE CEMETERY.

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Like what you saw? Stay tuned for Part 2: West Cemetery

Monday Motivation: Disney Quote of the Week!

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“The only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability.ā€ ā€“ Remy, Ratatouille

Too right, Remy! This quote resonates with me this week! Life is unpredictable and while it’s important to build structure into our lives, sometimes we gotta just go with the flow. We must be grounded but also flexible and open to what life is offering us. (As runners as well as general members of the human race.)

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So about that Jocktober Fest…

I’ve already failed at the 30 Day Challenge aspect; I’ve missed two days and it’s sort of looking like I’ll miss today, too. Unfortunately I planned Jocktober at a time when I thought I’d have the month fairly free, then at the last minute my month became wonderfully, gloriously busy and full of days like Friday and today where I’m up at four and five o’clock in the morning and not home til nine and ten o’clock at night. So, the best I can do is carry on where I can and do a full, proper 30 Days another time! Maybe November… šŸ˜‰

My Achey Breaky Shins…

Maybe it’s not the tune that would make Billy Ray Cyrus any money, but it’s what I’m feeling right now.

On Sunday a did a commercial dance routine on a very-much-not-sprung village hall floor. Then that same afternoon I did a dance call on a floor that was sprung, but where this happened:

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It was a dance from a drunken pub scene. There was rapid thigh slapping involved.

Luckily after that trauma (and four hours of recalls to sing and read sides) I did book the role, but my shins were not happy with me the next day. Both Monday and yesterday I tried to get out for a run and made it 1 mile before turning around and walking home. It’s that familiar ache that says “beware”. Not yet shin splints, but just waiting for the opportunity to turn.

I’m very good about staying in tune with my body and listening to what it’s telling me. I’ve never actually had full-blown proper shin splints because I get to this point and take a break. (I remember the feeling often from my first year in college. We were still in the old buildings, not up in our fancy schmancy new facilities yet, and while we loved the old buildings for all their character and history, there were weeks when everyone sat at the side during dance due to bloody shin splints from those horrendous floors.) But it’s still annoying, not getting out for a run. I get bored and frustrated. I still haven’t done last weeks long run (I often do long runs on either Friday or Monday because my weekends tend to be busier than my weeks). Not sure whether I’ll get to run this weeks either. They’re just a 6 and 7 mile run, respectively, so I’m not sure whether to skip either or both, or try cramming them into next week. Thoughts, opinions?

In other news, I’m still getting my Jocktober cross-training and every muscle in my body is in agony thanks to yoga. I must be very unfit. Ouch.