The Graves are Burning

"Elk Bath" – A wildfire in the Bitte...


When you hear that something bad happened at a cemetery, the story is usually about vandalism or theft. Some lowlifes kicked over some headstones or stole a few bronze plaques. But rarely do you hear about fire, such as the grass fire that broke out at Brookwood, Britain’s largest cemetery, earlier today:

About 40 firefighters, six fire engines and other units were called to the fire at Brookwood Cemetery, near Woking.

The fire, which started at about 14:10 BST, spread to an area of about 17 acres (seven hectares) at its height, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service said. Fire crews were still damping down at the scene on Tuesday night, but the blaze had been brought under control, the fire service said. Area manager Alan Clark said the current dry weather provided “perfect” conditions for wildfires.

He said: “The lack of rain and tinderbox dry conditions provide the perfect recipe for wildfires. “Once they start they can spread quickly, making wildfires notoriously difficult to control. “These fires cause devastation to the countryside, wildlife and property. They pose a risk to life, both to the public and the firefighters tackling these blazes.”

When the alert was first raised, the fire covered an area of about 2.5 acres (one hectare) near Cemetery Pales, which runs through the site, Surrey Police said earlier. The force advised motorists on Bagshot Road and Connaught Road to take care because of reduced visibility.

Brookwood was the largest cemetery in the world when it opened in 1854. It was established to solve the problem of overcrowding in London’s existing burial grounds. It is estimated that it holds the graves of more than 240,000 people.

A special railway, known as the Necropolis Railway, was constructed to convey coffins and mourners to Brookwood from a station near London Waterloo.

I’ll have to follow up on this story tomorrow to see if Brookwood Cemetery releases any information regarding how much damage was sustained. Hopefully they will be able to restore the gravesites that were burned.

I’m also going to have to find out more about the ‘Necropolis Railway’ – what a name! Sounds haunted. I wonder if Ghost Hunters International has investigated it yet…

And lastly, can anyone please explain the difference between Britain, the UK and England? Are they same place?? I don’t want to look ignorant but I just don’t get it.


K9 Memorials

I’m a dog person. The kind of dog person that is not a cat person. You know how there are some people who like dogs and cats? I’m not one of those. But it’s not that I don’t like cats – they don’t like me. At least 97% of the time cats never come near me. I know that the standoffish-ness is just part of their personality but still…

Anyway, as I started off saying, I like dogs a lot so K9 memorials hold a special place in my gravetender heart. Here are some poignant memorials I’ve heard about:

  • “Always Faithful” – this K9 memorial is located in Guam and was sculpted by Susan Bahary, who was inspired by the heroic spirit of these dogs. It was dedicated on July 21, 944 and the first part of the inscription reads: ‘25 marine war dogs gave their lives liberating Guam in 1944. They served as messengers, sentries, scouts. They explored caves, detected mines and booby traps. Semper Fidelis.’
Always Faithful, Doberman, Military Working Do...

Always Faithful


  • Sirius Dog Memorial – this memorial is located in Sirius Dog Park in Bayonne, NJ. The park is named in honor of Sirius, a four year old yellow Labrador who was killed on September 11, 2001. Sirius, a bomb detecting canine, was the only dog killed in the terrorist attack that brought down the twin towers in New York. Part of the inscription on Sirius’ memorial reads: “A loving aura fills the sky, As you rest on clouds of fleece, And angels tuck you in, May you sleep in heavenly peace.”


 Do you know of any K9 memorials?

Easter Flowers For All

Yes, it is a little early to be thinking about Easter but it was a sunny (and windy) 76 degrees today so I’m feeling spring-y. Also, the CVS down the road has started selling those delectable creme-filled Cadbury eggs that I always associate with Easter baskets and can’t seem to resist. Hmm…now I’m feeling spring-y and hungry…

Cadbury Creme Egg

Anyway, sunny days in March beget thoughts of spring showers which beget May flowers. Here are some of the most popular flowers I see at the cemetery during Easter (and if you like, I can lay an Easter bouquet on your loved ones grave – just send me a note):

Easter Lily – the Easter lily is native to Japan and was introduced to the USA by a tourist who had visited Japan. The lily represents purity, innocence and hope and Christians associate these qualities with Jesus, who was pure and innocent when he died on the cross. Some also say that when Eve was banned from the Garden of Eden, she cried tears of repentance and lilies grew from her tears. White lily bouquets are very popular during Easter.

} Longi lily (Lilium longiflorum) also known a...

Daffodils – these flowers symbolize rebirth and renewal just like spring, which is the season they bloom. Christian tradition says the daffodil first bloomed during the resurrection of Christ. The most common types of daffodils are yellow, but they also come in orange, white and cream. And allegedly if you step on a daffodil you’ll bring yourself years of bad luck, so watch where you step this spring.

English: Daffodil of spring.

Tulips – these bulbs are ubiquitous come springtime and come in all kinds of different colors – white tulips represent forgiveness, yellow tulips express happiness and cheer and purple tulips symbolize royalty. Tulips are simple, beautiful and symbolize the love Jesus gave to the world.


What other flowers do you associate with Easter?