#NewMayDays Day 13: Holywell Cemetery

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This week has been one of those weeks. For one reason or another relating to work and play and my favourite animal being put down I have not been feeling on top form, so to make myself feel like SOMETHING in life is going right I have been jogging almost every morning – which is novel in and of itself. A few days ago I finally took the plunge and crept through the unassuming shrub-shrouded side-gate off St Cross Road that leads to Holywell Cemetery. And that place really is a revelation in a hazy dawn. There is such a Secret Garden feel; dew-soaked grass, limbs breaking through overnight cobwebs strung between the gravestones etc etc – many of which belong to ex-masters or fellows of various Colleges, with the occasional mournful child’s tomb. The graves stretch on for an unbelievable distance just like a rural churchyard, and then when you get to the wall at the end there’s nothing but an expanse of field and trees and a broken down wood shed. Left alone with the birdsong and dappled trickles of sunlight it really did feel like a “morning has broken” moment in the middle of the countryside.  I had a five minute silent stand-off with a fox that stood defiantly at the other end of the grassy expanse beyond, and the whole experience was incredibly surreal. I’ll admit to getting a bit spooked by the various rustles as nature woke up for the day (but actually more so by the deafening silence in the middle of a city), and broke into a nervous trot to get out the gate again… But if you’re a central Oxford resident (like me) and a lover of graveyards (like me) then this spot is not to be missed.

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