Friday, 7 September 2018

Small London wanderings

Very much restricted wanderings this time as I only had part of a day to explore my home town.

I arrived at my Air B and B at midnight - five hours after I said I would, due to a four-hour delayed flight and another hour standing around at Stansted airport with about two hundred other people all also wondering where their baggage had got to.
Luckily, the very lovely host was totally understanding, made me tea, asked what I was doing in London and showed me - after making me a hot-water bottle - to my lodgings - a beautiful garden shed. Actually, not a shed - more a recycled wood cabin with found 30s windows and tea-chest interior cladding.


I don't think I have slept better for months.
I lay there thinking how odd it was to be in a small wooden house in a Clapton garden within this vast throbbing city, and how really quiet it was and then I was out for eight hours - unheard of!

After my agent meeting the following day, I returned to the shed, had a rest, read one of Mark Haddon's short stories (excellent) and then walked a very, very long way and got lost (no GPS, thank you!) but it was an interesting getting lost, mainly around the Hackney Marshes area and ending up at a pub called The Approach near Victoria Park where a lot of my novel is set.
I met up with friend, Sophie, and we discussed life generally before yawning into our drinks and deciding that our respective sleeping places were calling.


The interior of a wonderful café called 'The Tram Stop' somewhere between Clapton and Hackney

The Hackney Empire. Somehow, I've never seen this/these buildings before! One of a few architectural symbiosis of old and new that, to my mind, works.


The Mighty St Leonard's Church, (from a bus) home of my Character, Hoxton.


                               Beauty salon on Kingsland Road.


One of a billion or so overlooked door and window lintel decorations in London

I'm not sure why I photographed these two edifices but I just liked their air of silent resignation to the next bit of decay and graffiti; respectively sitting under about 150/60 years of drizzle watching human-progress - or not.

Global-warming evidence near the Hackney Marshes. A very happy olive tree.


Top of bus-shelter debris. I saw quite a few surprising things on the bus from Hackney to Covent Garden - a credit card, shoes, a sandwich, books, glasses . . . Thrown up there from the street, or from the bus, passing biplane . . .
This bungee-rope must have been there for a decade or so judging by the moss that surrounded it. I once started a short-story about a man who lived on a bus-shelter roof. I might continue it.


                                           A tiny building which must be mostly a fireplace


                                    A wistful bulldog


Interesting bit of modern architecture encompassing London yellow brick, steel and glass.

A magnificent drinking fountain in Victoria Park - I loved the way the trickle has been designed to enter the little oval pool with a groove so the water returns to the base. And the pebbles! Wow.

A slice of rails, woodwork, ironwork, cables, brick and tenacious buddleias growing from wall-cracks

And back to the airport. I'm sure the duty free bit has expanded again to feature further meters of people thrusting bits of perfume-saturated white card at you; and even more chocolate/tea/booze and useless plastic crap than you can shake an advertising exec at.

There's always a spotlight area for a certain product halfway through the D-Free bit - last time I think it was Toblerone, and before that M and Ms? The current Giorgio Armani installation was rendered somewhat ludicrous by the 'no climbing' sign on the pretend boat-gangway.

I bought a small tin of Earl Grey as a congrats present for my son passing his driving test, avoided everything else, ate a very nice black-bean thing in Leon and settled down with a pot of tea to write my meeting notes out - just another member of the huge human colony perched on seats and taking Instagram pictures of their meals. We are a strange lot.

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