Bath's Parade Gardens aren't looking their best at this time of year. Constant rain, a bit of flooding and bare flower beds don't exactly entice the passers-by in.
Anyway - l think the gates have been closed for the winter but it won't be too long now before people are hopefully once again enjoying some spring sunshine and a walk through this riverside park.
I am always on the look-out for stories for the Virtual Museum and always carry either a ligh-weight digital camera or smartphone in case something is spotted. Such was the case while strolling through the gardens last summer.
Right in the middle of the gardens - a path hidden in bushes - led me through to a small pets cemetery with some touching inscriptions on tiny headstones referring to some four-legged friends who had passed on. 'Our mate Chum' - read one. 'Our faithful pet Jack' read another.
Why was it there l asked? Who had buried these animals and marked their resting places with such loving care and obvious expense?
Well the answer finally came my way today while sipping strong Italian coffee in Roscoff Deli - my favourite cafe - just off the High Street in Northumberland Place.
In came two young chaps from the Parks Department at B&NES. The object of their visit was work and not pleasure. Trying to sell window boxes to the traders.
I mentioned the animal graveyard in Parade Gardens expecting them not to know. I mean - most of those pets passed on before they were born - but no l had my answer without even a pause for breathe.
Did l know Parade Gardens was once the private gardens belonging to John Wood's North parade who had their own under-road tunnel linking them with these waterside pleasure grounds. The pets would have belonged to them.
According to my helpful informants they understood the gardens were even now only leased to the city and that is why visitors from outside Bath still had to pay to get into them.
If anyone can add to this story or begs to differ with what l have now heard - please let me know. You'll find the Virtual Museum at www.virtualmuseumofbath.com
Member since: 4th February 2014
Ex television and radio presenter and now Director of The Virtual Museum of Bath - www.virtualmuseumofbath.com - an on-line daily record embracing all developments in the history and heritage of the city...