Friends of the Wembdon Road Cemetery
Bridgwater, Somerset
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2017 Diary: September

Friday 1 September

As it was a fine and sunny day and the weather forecast for Sunday was rain, Alan and Rita decided to go to the cemetery today to work on the Squibbs grave now that the headstone was back up. The kerbs needed to be cemented back in position plus membrane and stone chipping added. The kerbs were cemented back and the centre of the grave filled with earth as it had sunk, several wheel barrows of earth were required, this was just completed when Parsley and Astrid arrived. While Parsley was busy with his ball, Astrid helped with the membrane and stone chipping, job finished. What an improvement from the sorry sight the grave had fallen into over the years, sad as Abraham Squibbs who died in 1912 was one of the most prominent photographs in Bridgwater in the 1880s. It was then decided to start on the Smith grave and remove the stone chipping so that the old cement on the loose kerbs and posts of this double grave could be chipped off ready to be cemented back in position at a later date. The stone chipping was put in bags and will be sieved and cleaned and returned when the kerbs and posts are back up. Astrid and Parsley had to leave, while Alan was busy on the Smith stones Rita was cleaning weeds that had taken over the Hawkins war grave situated behind the Smith grave and clearing ivy off a nearby fir tree where it was beginning to choke the lower branches. It was getting late and hot most of the Smith posts and kerbs old cement chipped off when Alan and Rita decided it was time to leave.


Sunday 17 September

After all the rain we have had over the last two weeks, it was nice that today the sun was shining. In the cemetery today were Alan, Rita, John, Dave and Joyce.

Alan & Dave concentrated on the Smith grave 1/875 where the dislodged kerbs and posts had become loose and needed to be cemented back into position. With 8 posts and six large kerbs it was a slow process and took longer than anticipated, but the completed job was worth the effort, and with the recently erected cross this memorial is looking very nice, all that is needed now is to clean the stones and put them back on to the concrete landing in the centre of the grave.

In the meantime John and Rita having trimmed a few branches on a nearby fir tree to where Alan and Dave were working, then made their way down to the non-conformist chapel mound area, to take on the daunting task of cutting back the Euonymus tree that was beginning to take over the mound. After filling 3 dumpy bags they have only just gone around the edges of the tree, still a lot more work to be done. They did a great job and even Alan praised them for their hard work!

Joyce came in to say she was just in for a look around but her secateurs asked to come in with her! So not to disappoint them we put them to work cutting back the ivy that had encroached over the Pierce grave near to where Rita and John were working. Joyce then went to inspect the newly restored graves recently completed by Fine Memorials and then went up to see the work that Dave and Alan were completing. While Alan finished off cementing, Dave lugged 3 dumpy bags to the Jam Factory Lane end of the cemetery where the rest of the dumpy bags are being stored, and awaiting collection by SDC.

Monday 18 September

As they couldn't make it yesterday, Miles and Michelle came into the cemetery to do a bit of work while they were still in Bridgwater. They concentrated on tidying up the new hedge along the Paupers' Green, removing the nettles, bindweed and emerging brambles to stop them choking the new shrubs we planted last year. They didn't get too far in the morning, but at least managed to remove two thirds of the weeds on the outside edge of the row of memorials, making it look somewhat neater than before. They filled a dumpy bag and two further halves, before having to make their way for lunch and to travel back to Glasgow in good time.


Mid morning Astrid and Parsley visited, and Astrid spent ten minutes planting some wildflower daisy plugs, which should establish themselves over the winter.



Tuesday 19 September

Alan felt that as it was a nice sunny day it would be an ideal time to go to the cemetery. Andy was contacted and said he would meet him there.

On arrival, the first sight they saw were 4 bags of stone chipping left by the front gate by Fine Memorial. It was decided to use these stones for the Millard 36/82 grave a large double grave in Section B next to the main pathway with impressive polished kerbs, tiers and cross, but minus chipping - apart from a smattering in the centre. The stones were put in, raked level and has certainly enhanced the appearance of this memorial, the resting place of Edmund Millard who served and died for his country in 1918.


The other grave worked on was the Smith 1/875 which was worked on Sunday. The stone chipping was removed so that the posts and kerbs could be cemented back in position. The stones were sieved through to get the dirt and debris off and returned to the double grave.


Andy took photos of both graves completed today and were sent over to be put on the website.

Andy & Alan then had a walk around the cemetery to see the efforts of Miles, Michele and Astrid who were in working yesterday clearing weeds, nettles and bindweed that had overtaken the headstones by the new hedge planted last year. They have made a good start, but still a lot more work to be done here before winter.

Sunday 23 September

A load of 'old crocks' in the cemetery today. Dave and Rita were fine, Alan had a bad finger but managed to work ok, both Andy and John came in but Andy had a bad elbow and John had a bad shoulder, both unable to work but kept us entertained with their chat.

Dave and Alan worked on the Hunt 3/1258 grave today in section M, digging out the centre that was full of weeds and the concrete slab that had sunk and broken in many pieces. The kerbs were complete but not level and were loose. The next thing to do was to sort out the base stones that had to be set in level to take the kerbs, once this was done the kerbs were cemented back in position, back filled the grave with earth so that it was ready for membrane and chipping. They did a great job. While they concentrated on the Hunt grave, Rita's task was to keep cutting away at the Euonymus tree which she and John started last week, you could tell where she had been but still an awful lot of work still to be done.

After a longer tea break than normal, Rita went back to her tree, Alan, Dave and Andy dragged 3 large dumpy bags over to the rubbish pile, hoping for a rainy day so SDC can come and empty them as we are on our last bag.



Tuesday 26 September

As Rita & Alan will not be in the cemetery on Sunday due to the start of the Carnival Concerts, they decided to go in today to make up for it. Rita concentrated on the Euonymus tree which is still a mass of intertwining branches next to the non-conformist chapel mound. Progress is slow going. Alan had several jobs in mind, his first to put membrane in the Hunt grave 3/1258 and then add the stone chipping. Next to the Hunt grave is Mark and Martha Hernimans grave, the kerbs are in good condition but the centre is a mass of weeds forming a matt around the stone chippings. Alan dug out the weeds, bagged up the stone ready to be sieved of earth and returned to the grave. He then moved down to the Carver memorial 79/791 in Plan 6, the cross had recently been re-erected and needed cleaning on the face of the cross which is adorned with flowers. Using a very fine brush in his electric/battery drill he carefully worked around the petals of the flowers to remove the black spots of algae. The memorial is looking very nice but needs a little more work to finish off the job. This done he went over and gave Rita a hand cutting back the tree, after a lot of sweating in the now warm sunshine a large section of the tree has been removed. (Though still a lot more to go). Well satisfied with their efforts they made their weary way home.


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