A walk with sculpture

Shopping at Sainsbury’s
Shopping at Sainsbury’s

As usual on a Sunday, we went shopping at Sainsbury’s in the morning.

Sunshine in Amwell Street
Sunshine in Amwell Street

After lunch, we called at the deli and found a table free where we could enjoy our coffee.

Sitting at the back of the 214
Sitting at the back of the 214

Tigger needed a 2023 diary and so we caught a 214 bus to Camden Town. It was crowded and we had to sit at the back (meaning a scramble to leave the bus at our stop).

Camden High Street
Camden High Street

We left the bus in Camden High Street where most of the shops were open.

The Works
The Works

We went into a branch of The Works which sells books, toys and stationery. The diaries were in a hidden corner but we found them and Tigger bought one.

Aboard the 274
Aboard the 274

We walked to the bus stop in Pratt Street and boarded a 274 bus. This took us to Regent’s Park.

Crossing the Regent's Canal
Crossing the Regent’s Canal

To enter the park you must cross a bridge over the Regent’s Canal.

Walking in the park
Walking in the park

In the park, we walked down the broad main path.

Sir Cowasjee Jehangir Fountain
Sir Cowasjee Jehangir Fountain

We sat for a while on a bench near the Sir Cowasgee Jehangir drinking fountain, also known as the “Ready Money Drinking Fountain” after the nickname of Sir Cowasjee who gifted it to the community.

Beautiful trees
Beautiful trees

We walked among the beautiful trees and…

Open areas
Open areas

…along the open areas.

We were hoping to find the Frieze Sculpture Exhibition and we eventually located it. The exhibits were much as you would expect, given the current state of art. I photographed several of the works but with increasing feelings of scepticism. I made no attempt to photograph everything. I present here just a selection with a photo of the artwork and a photo of its label. Make of these what you will.

Sculpture

Label

 

Sculpture

Label

 

Sculpture

Label

 

Sculpture

Label

 

Sculpture

Label

 

Sculpture

Label

 

Wood pigeon
Wood pigeon-

Better than any work of art on display was this wood pigeon who stood quietly beside me while I photographed it.

Aboard the 30
Aboard the 30

We now walked to the bus stop and caught a number 30 bus back to the Angel and home.

Random ramble

We had no particular plan for today other than the usual starting point: coffee at the deli.

Sunshine in Amwell Street

The sun was shining, making everything seem cheerful. We sat outside the deli with our coffee.

Afterwards, we went for a walk, wandering more or less at random. What follows are some of the things we saw along the way.

Miniature clock tower

We walked down to Farringdon Road where this charming though small clock tower resides on a hotel.

A demo goes by

To cross the road we had to wait for traffic and a demo to pass by. I don’t know what the demo was about but it snarled up the traffic nicely, causing drivers to sound their horns, no doubt in support 🙂

How to bend a row of houses

Wren Street curves to the left, presenting the architect who designed its row of houses with a problem. He solved it by “breaking” the row, making a triangular space between the houses at the “break”.

St Andrew’s Gardens

We went through St Andrew’s Gardens, once the burial ground of St Andrew’s Church and now a small but pleasant public garden. A few of the larger tombstones remain in place but the rest have been moved to the periphery. London’s burial grounds were closed to new interments in the 1850s, so it is unlikely that there is anyone left to complain about what they might have seen as desecration of the graves.

A lone flower
Photo by Tigger

Among all the greenery, we spotted a single flower but a beautiful one and Tigger took a photo of it.

Coram’s Fields

We passed by Coram’s Fields but didn’t go in. Adults are allowed into this park only if accompanying a child. Thomas Coram created the Foundlings Hospital which is still to be seen adjacent to the Fields.

Bas relief
Photo by Tigger
Bas relief detail

On a 1930s building we found an interesting bas relief. As it is all of one colour and somewhat weathered, it’s a little difficult to make out the details. Nor did we have time to try to work out what its meaning mught be.

Terra cotta
Decorated with terra cotta

In Queens Square, I photographed this building because I liked the terra cotta decorations. Terra cotta is a lovely material though soft and therefore liable to suffer damage.

Queens Square Gardens

We went into Queens Square Gardens and it was warm enough to sit for a while on a bench and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

Statue of Queen Charlotte

The question as to which queen the square commemorates is answered by this statue in the gardens. It represents Queen Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, wife of George III. It dates from 1775 (I don’t know who the sculptor was) and is made of lead, a material that went out of fashion for sculptures by Victorian times.

Queen Charlotte – detail

I took this close-up photo to show how detailed the sculpture is. You can make out the individual threads of the tassels.

Mother and child
Patricia Finch

There are other sculptures in the gardens, including the above by Patricia Finch, and…

Cat about to jump

…this portrait of a cat about to jump down from a wall. The sculptor’s name is not noted but the work is dedicated to Patricia Penn, “Champion of Local Causes – and cat lover”.

Victorian water pump
Photo by Tigger

Also in the square is a Victorian water pump, unusually combined with a lamp which was added later. The ensemble is Grade II listed.

Spacemen and aliens

Nearby, someone has decorated an out-of-service pillar box with a sci-fi scene done partly in knitting. One of the spacecraft is taking off and has flames of coloured wool issuing from its engines!

Lamb’s Conduit Street

We arrived at Lamb’s Conduit Street though we did not explore it this time.

Tutti’s
Coffee

We made a pause at Tutti’s for coffee while we thought about lunch.

Kozzy Cafe

Wandering a bit further we happened upon Kozzy Cafe and had lunch there. “Kozzy” is not (as you might think) an ESL mistake for “cosy” but perhaps derives from the founder of the business, memorialised on the menu, and called Kalender Guvenc.

Lincoln’s Inn Fields

Continuing in, we came to Lincoln’s Inn Fields, reputedly London’s largest public square.

Arts and Crafts public toulet

Beside it stands this remarkable Arts and Crafts-style public toilet. As I didn’t go in, I cannot say whether the interior matches the quality of the exterior. I hope so.

Lincoln’s Inn Gate

The square of course contains Lincoln’s Inn, not an old pub, but one of the Inns of Court where barristers have their offices. The building is magnificent but too big to photograph as a whole and so I made do with the gate.

Royal Courts of Justice

I was beginning to feel a little tired and was happy to agree to Tigger’s proposal to make for the bus. We arrived in Fleet Street (once the home of the newspaper industry) and passed in front of the Royal Courts of Justice.

Aboard the 341

From here we caught a 341 bus back to the Angel. Tigger had a purchase to make but unfortunately did not find what she wanted. We therefore…

Costa in the mirror

…drowned our sorrows in coffee at Costa!

From here, it was but a short walk to home, ending today’s outing. After a rest, we shall be ready to enjoy a pleasant evening at home.

Coffee and some boats

Tigger’s on the early shift today, leaving her office at 4 pm. For once I took the initiative and suggested that we could meet and go for coffee. Tigger was happy to agree.

St John Street
St John Street

As usual on such occasions, I went to the bus stop in St John Street to catch a 153 bus.

Aboard the 153
Aboard the 153

This speedy single-deck bus goes to All Hallows, where I change, and is rarely crowded.

All Hallows in London Wall
All Hallows in London Wall

All Hallows Church stands in the street called London Wall because the city walls (bits of which remain) passed along here. Though by no means a small building, the church seems dwarfed by the overgrown City towers.

East Dock
East Dock

On arriving, I was early and went down to St Katharine Docks. The boat population in this dock seems semi-permanent. A number of craft have been here for several years and are familiar to me. A selection follows:

Zingara
Zingara

Occupying a comfortable corner mooring is Zingara. The name means “Romany girl” (in these times of politically correct strictures we are apparently no longer allowed to use the word “gypsy” and I would hate to upset the self-appointed Thought Police) but a number of vessels have borne this name, some more famous than others.

Dana
Dana

The neat little Dana is registered in Doetinchem (Netherlands) if her stern inscription is correct but has rested quite happily here for as long as I have been visiting the dock.

Libertijn of Alphen
Libertijn of Alphen

The name is Dutch (Alphen is a town in West Netherlands) but the stern inscription says she was registered in London. How do you pronounce the Dutch ‘ij’? There seem to be two schools of thought, one saying it is “long ei” (pronounced like English ‘ay’ in “hay”) and the other saying it is pronounced like English “eye”. Anyone willing to act as referee?

Grand Cru
Grand Cru

This craft was presumably named by someone who liked good wine. A “gran cru” is a wine of high reputation though whether the term is suitably applied to naming a boat is a matter of personal choice.

Excelsior
Excelsior

I almost feel sorry for anything called by the overused word “excelsior” which has now, by use and abuse, become virtually meaningless. (It meant something like “higher” or “loftier” in Latin. I have no idea whether the Romans ever used this word to name ships.) I’m sure, though, that to the owners of this craft, the name is both meaningful and loved.

West Dock
West Dock

Still having time to spare, I ventured into the West Dock though I come here relatively rarely and don’t know the names of any of the boats or whether they too stay here long-term.

Back in East Dock
Back in East Dock

I returned to the East Dock and took the above photo looking in the opposite direction from my first photo. You can see the large apartment block that lines the dock on two of its sides.

Sun Walk
Sun Walk

I returned along the side of the dock by this pleasant path called by the allusive name of Sun Walk. It takes me past the boats I showed you and a good many others.

Unusual sight - empty berths
Unusual sight – empty moorings

I was surprised to notice quite a few empty moorings today in the dock, something I had not seen here before. I wonder whether it has something to do with the economic downturn.

Art, predumably
Art, predumably

Leaving the dock, I passed this artwork consisting of three crumpled lumps of metal. Possibly it means something to someone but it says nothing to me.

Duke’s Place
Duke’s Place

When Tigger joined me, we boarded a 100 and travelled a few stops to this street. It is called Duke’s Place (at least, that’s the name of the bus stop) but to what duke it refers I have no idea. It had now started to rain which was annoying as I had decided against wearing a rain jacket. I did have my folding umbrella but as we did not have far to go, I did not deploy it.

Update: For an explanation of the name of Duke’s Place, see the helpful comment by rescuedogdexter below.

Through the window at Black Sheep
Through the window at Black Sheep

Where we were going was a branch of Black Sheep Coffee. We found a pair of comfortable armchairs by the window. You can see what the weather is like by the gentleman carrying a brolly crossing the street.

St Botolphe’s
St Botolphe’s

Stopping for coffee had the added advantage that the rain stopped while we were inside. We then walked to Liverpool Street Station where we could catch a bus home, passing St Botolphe’s Church on the way.

Walking through the station
Walking through the station

The station was very busy as it was by now the onset on the rush hour. We threaded our way through the bustling crowd to the bus station, adjacent to the railway station.

Our bus is lurking
Our bus is lurking

The 153 “terminates” here, as TfL jargon has it, and the driver takes a 15-minute break. The bus lurks in the tunnel on the left. The bus whose rear you see poking out is a 153 but not our 153. It has just arrived and will wait 15 minutes before emerging. Our 153 is further inside the tunnel about to come out. A little queue had formed by the time it arrived but we all had seats for the ride home.

It has been announced that an indefinite strike involving many of London’s bus routes has been suspended while the union considers a pay offer. I mention this because good news is hard to come by at present and every crumb of it is worth savouring. Any hope of a similar suspension of train and tube strikes?

Strolling Somers Town

Lloyd Baker Street
Lloyd Baker Street

The day started with a panic. We had booked flu jabs at our GP surgery at 8:35 and I had completely forgotten until 8:10 when Tigger reminded me. There was then a mad rush to dress and hurry to the surgery. We managed it, fortunately, and received our jabs. Afterwards we retired to the deli for coffee where I took the above photo of Lloyd Baker Street lit by early morning sunshine.

Forecourt, British Library
Forecourt, British Library

Later, we went to the British Library where Tigger wanted to do some research.

Humanities 1 reading room
Humanities 1 reading room

As required, we left our bags in the locker room. This time I remembered to take my membership card with me to be admitted to the reading room but… I forgot my reading specs and the charging cable for my phone. Maybe next time I’ll remember everything,

Ossulston Street
Ossulston Street

Leaving the library, we walked down Ossulston Street (named after politician Charles Bennet, Lord Ossulston, 1776-1859), somewhere we go only rarely (in fact, I don’t recall ever going there).

As an aside: It annoys me intensely that when I want to photograph a street, the view is cluttered by two continuous lines of parked vehicles. I remember that when I was a child, parked vehicles in a residential street were the exception rather than the rule. We children could play in the road because passing vehicles were a rarity.

A private garden
A private garden

Through closed gates, we saw this garden, private to residents. Strange how inaccessible places exercise a fascination on us!

Global Generation
Global Generation

We came upon what appeared at first sight to be a community garden but which, on further inspection, turned out to be much more. It is run by Global Generation which describes itself as an educational charity. Certainly, there was a lot going on and we didn’t really get to the bottom of it all.

Classroom
Classroom

The was a classroom,…

Roundhouse
Roundhouse

…a roundhouse,…

Yurt
Yurt

…a yurt,…

Hugel mound
Hugel mound

…at least one Hugel mound and a story garden which we could not visit because there was an activity taking place in it.

The neighbourhood we were now exploring is called Somers Town. It has seen many waves of immigration, notably that of Spanish political dissidents fleeing the repression of King Fernando VII of Spain in the early 19th century.

Mini park

Mini parks
Mini parks

As we progressed round the streets, we saw a number of these mini parks, spaces created in the road with plants and seating. Anything that reclaims space from motor vehicles is welcome in my book.

King’s Cafe
King’s Cafe

We were both beginning to have thoughts about lunch when we serendipitously came upon King’s Cafe.

In King’s Cafe
In King’s Cafe

It’s quite small as cafes go (in fact it was a tight squeeze between our table and the one next to it) but the steady stream of customers indicates that it is popular with the locals. We certainly have no complaints about our lunch.

The Somers Town Coffee House
The Somers Town Coffee House

My attention was caught by this pub – at least, I think it’s a pub – called the Somers Town Coffee House. They advertise that they serve food all day (and presumably, coffee too). We didn’t investigate it today, though, having just had a satisfying lunch.

Churchway
Churchway

We wandered down this pedestrian street called Churchway. This seems to indicate that the local church once stood hereabouts, an impression supported by the fact that names of saints abound along Drummond Crescent to which Churchway leads.

Glimpse of a church
Glimpse of a church

I think the original church that gave rise to the names must have vanished though, from Drummond Crescent we did glimpse this curious drum-shaped building, identified as a church by the cross on the roof.

St Aloysius RC Church
St Aloysius RC Church

The drum belongs to the RC Church of St Aloysius whose front is in Eversholt Street.

Horizontal housing estate
Horizontal housing estate

I noticed this housing estate, looking cheerful as it basked in sunshine. I thought how nice it was to see a horizontal housing estate instead of the dreadful, dangerous and anti-social tower blocks. It amazes me that such towers are still being built. Planners, it seems, are immune to learning the lessons of history. Or does the idea of a quick profit outweigh all other considerations?

Dead pub
Dead pub

I read that pubs are closing down at a faster rate than ever before. Some are being demolished but some are “repurposed”, often as residential properties. We first saw this one and then, not far away,..,

Dead pub
Dead pub

…another one, seemingly also entering forced retirement. This one still bears its original name – Eastnor Castle – whereas the previous one has been rendered anonymous.

A lane between greenery
A lane between greenery

Another pedestrian path, this one with greenery on both sides, led us to…

Tiny library
Tiny library

…a quiet street where, at the top of a flight of steps, was one of the smallest libraries I have seen. It contained a stock of books and CDs. I don’t know what you do to become a member or whether membership is even necessary. There is a mystery here, though: the flight of steps must surely once have led to a door. What happened to it?

Working Men’s College
Working Men’s College

I had been following Tigger, as I usually do, without necessarily knowing where we are or where we are going, trusting her to lead us safely to wherever we should end up. In seeing this venerable building, the Working Men’s College, founded 1854, I knew where we were – in Crowndale Road.

Aboard the 214
Aboard the 214

This was good news because it brought us onto the route of the 214 bus and I was beginning to feel tired and ready to catch the bus home. A bus duly arrived and we clambered aboard.

Saint Espresso
Saint Espresso

The bus delivered us to our nearest bus stop which is in Pentonville Road. It just so happens that the stop is next to a branch of Saint Espresso. Would a coffee round off our outing nicely?

Coffee at Saint Espresso
Coffee at Saint Espresso

Yes, it would and did! We sat at a table in this tiny coffee shop and lingered a while over our our drinks before finally heading for home.

To the seaside

Yes, we are off on a bank holiday outing to the seaside. London is in an unusual state with road closures and transport disruptions so that leaving it for today seems the best option.

Great Northern Hotel, St Pancras
Great Northern Hotel, St Pancras

We caught a 214 bus to St Pancras Station and left it in front of the huge Great Northern Hotel, a symbol of past times and the elegant travellers of the Victorian era.

Eurostar departures
Eurostar departures

We are not alone in escaping London: as we entered St Pancras Station we found Eurostar departures crowded and long queues snaking through the concourse.

E L & N
E L & N

As we often do when passing through St Pancras Station, we stopped off for coffee at E L & N. All the seats inside were occupied and so we sat outside.

St Pancras Thameslink Platform
St Pancras Thameslink Platform

We went down to the Thameslink platform and found it almost empty. This was a telief as I was half-expecting trains to be crowded with escapees like us.

Aboard the Brighton train
Aboard the Brighton train

At 9:30 our train arrived to convey us to Brighton, today’s seaside destination. The train is not at all crowded, happily.

Blackfriars Station Photo by Tigger
Blackfriars Station
Photo by Tigger

When we arrived at Blackfriars Station, which affords a view of the Thames, we could see that the (in)famous queue for the lying in state had of course disappeared, returning the river bank to its normal aspect.

On the way to Brighton Photo by Tigger
On the way to Brighton
Photo by Tigger

Arriving at Brighton
Arriving at Brighton

The journey was uneventful and took about 75 minutes.

Queen Street
Queen Street

From the station we walked down Queen Street. I had imagined that many cafes etc would be open but in fact most were closed. Wisely, we had brought food with us in case.

Pigeon banquet
Pigeon banquet

We found a flock of pigeons enjoying a banquet provided by some kind person.

Down-to-earth coffee Photo by Tigger
Down-to-earth coffee
Photo by Tigger

In East Street we found a coffee bar open. It was called Super Natural but the coffee was fortunately down to earth.

The Pump House
The Pump House

A quiet corner
A quiet corner

Vegetarian macaroni cheese and tea
Vegetarian macaroni cheese and tea

Exploring possibilities, we found a pub called the Pump House open and serving food. We chose a table in s quiet corner and placed our order for lunch.

The Royal Pavilion Grounds
The Royal Pavilion Grounds

We went into the grounds of the Royal Pavilion, hoping the museum would be open as there was an exhibition that Tigger wanted to see. Unfortunately, the museum was closed.

The William IV gate
The William IV gate

Near to the Grade II* listed William IV gate, dated 1832, was a bench where we sat for s while enjoying the peaceful atmosphere of the Pavilion gardens. (On the gate, the reign number appears as “IIII”, not as the more usual “IV”.)

Palace Pier (part)
Palace Pier (part)

We now walked to the seafront and…

Onto the pier
Onto the pier

…went onto the Palace Pier.

The beach from the pier
The beach from the pier

We looked along the famous shingle beach from which I went swimming so many times in my childhood.

A view of the sea
A view of the sea

You also have a view of the sea – which, after all, is what piers are all about.

Tigger and SilverTiger walk the promenade
Tigger and SilverTiger walk the promenade

From the pier we went for a stroll along the promenade.

Last view of the pier
Last view of the pier

We then climbed up to Marine Parade and on the way I captured a last view of the pier, albeit in silhouette.

Marine Parade
Marine Parade

There are some fine period houses in Marine Parade and we speculated on whether it would be pleasant to live there (not that we could ever afford to do so!). It might be a bit noisy on what is a main road.

Back to the station
Back to the station

We caught a bus in Marine Parade back to the station. We reckoned that the rush to London (if any) would be over now and that it would be comfortable to travel.

Inside the station
Inside the station

Brighton Station is light and airy and has a fine curved glass roof. I was relieved to find that it was not crowded.

Aboard the Bedford train
Aboard the Bedford train

We boarded the Bedford train that calls at St Pancras. We were right that it would not be crowded. We settled down calmly for our journey back to London.

Plane landing at Gatwick Photo by Tigger
Plane landing at Gatwick
Photo by Tigger

We passed through Gatwick Airport where Tigger photographed a plane coming in to land.

A glimpse of the Thames Photo by Tigger
A glimpse of the Thames
Photo by Tigger

At Blackfriars, we crossed the Thames into home territory once more. (Though I also feel that Brighton too is “home”.)

Aboard to 214
Aboard to 214

At St Pancras, we left the train and went up two escalators to reach ground level. We exited the station and within two minutes a bus arrived to take us home. Today’s Brighton adventure has ended but we shall return there again one day soon.