To Camden, then Hampstead

Tigger has a day off work today so we can go out and amuse ourselves. The weather is quite cold (colder than the forecasts suggest) but it is at least dry with intermittent sunshine which, though not very warming, makes us feel more cheerful.

Aboard the 214
Aboard the 214

We started by catching a 214 bus.

Crossing Camden High Street
Crossing Camden High Street

The bus brought us to Camden Town where we visited a craft shop for Tigger to buy wool for her crochet projects. I snatched this photo as we made a death-defying dash across the High Street.

Continuing along the High Street
Continuing along the High Street

After the craft shop, we continued along the High Street which narrows somewhat on passing along the left side of the Underground Station.

The touristy bit
The touristy bit

This brought us to the district that is crowded with tourists in the season as the street is lined with trendy or exotic (depending on your point of view) shops, eateries and tattoo parlours.

Elephant
Elephant

Some of the shops have complex and colourful fronts like this elephant and..,

Dragon
Dragon

…this Chinese dragon (which, as you can see, is not an imperial dragon as it has only four toes).

Camden Lock
Camden Lock

We reached another famed place, Camden Lock, known not so much for the barges changing level as for Camden Market sited beside it.

Covered Market
Covered Market

This market has the advantage of being under cover and people can browse there in comfort in any weather.

On two levels
On two levels

The market is on two levels, making is very large.

Shop-sized
Shop-sized

Some stalls are quite small and open-fronted while others, like this one, are shop-size with entrance doors.

Canal and bridge
Canal and bridge

We went out from the market to the canal beside the pedestrian bridge that crosses it.

Along the towpath
Along the towpath

We walked a little way along the towpath and exited into Chalkfarm Road.

Costa Coffee
Costa Coffee

We visited the local branch of Costa Coffee and…

The diminutive lounge
The diminutive lounge

…found seats in a corner of the diminutive lounge.

Wagamama
Wagamama

As it now felt like lunchtime, we went along to a nearby branch of Wagamama.

In Wagamama
In Wagamama

We had come here last when Covid restrictions were still in force. Things were more relaxed today, fortunately.

Aboard the 168
Aboard the 168

We returned to Camden High Street to catch a 168 bus going to Hampstead Heath.

South End Green
South End Green

We left the bus at its terminus in South End Green.

Keats’ House
Keats’ House

We went up the street called Keats Grove to Keats’ House. It was closed so we couldn’t have visited it – assuming we would want to, of course.

Keats Community Library
Keats Community Library

Next to it is the Keats Community Library which was open, so we went in.

Ceiling dome Photo by Tigger
Ceiling dome
Photo by Tigger

It has a splendid stained glass ceiling dome.

We sat in the library for a while as it was warm and there were comfortable chairs. It is a fairly small library but pleasant and welcoming as witness a number of people reading or working with their computers.

Hampstead Heath Station
Hampstead Heath Station

We returned to the main road by the Overground Railway’s Hampstead Heath Station. The station shelters a fruit and veg stall on its entrance forecourt, a nice example of commercial symbiosis.

Starbuck’s
Starbuck’s

Our next port of call was Starbuck’s where we took refreshment (coffee for Tigger and tea for me).

Evening falls Photo by Tigger
Evening falls
Photo by Tigger

By the time we emerged, the daylight was fading and evening was coming on. We went to the bus stop to begin our journey home.

Aboard the 46
Aboard the 46

We first boarded a single-deck 46 which carried us back to Camden Town where we transferred to another single-decker, a 214, this time.

Nighttime in Pentonville Road
Nighttime in Pentonville Road

By the time we left the bus in Pentonville Road, night had fallen completely. From here we were soon chez nous once more with a good day to look back on and a cosy evening to look forward to.

Slow trek to Westminster

This morning, we performed our usual shopping run to Sainsbury’s and found that today was to be sunny but cold (the temperature barely rising above freezing).

Aboard the 214

After lunch we caught a number 214 bus.

Camden High Street

The 214 carried us to Camden Town where we left it.

TheWorks

First, we went into TheWorks where Tigger was hoping to make a purchase but was unsuccessful.

Ryman

So then we went to Ryman and this time Tigger was successful.

Aboard the 88

Next we boarded a number 88 bus. So far, our outing was going swimmingly but we had forgotten that today is the lunisolar new year. (We used to refer to this as the Chinese New Year but it appears that we are now supposed to call it by a non-racial name. I leave it to you to work out the reasons.)

Great Smith Street

Streets around China Town were closed, causing traffic to be diverted. As a result our bus crawled along Regent’s Street at far less than walking pace. After a long, long, slow journey, we left the bus in the backstreets of Westminster. This one is called Great Smith Street.

Caffè Nero
Spirit restorative
Photo by Tigger

Nearly all shops and cafes were closed but we found a Caffè Nero open and went in to restore our spirits.

The Marquis of Granby

We passed the (closed) pub called the Marquis of Granby.

St John, Smith Square

We reached Smith Square, site of the Church of St John. Its church days behind it, St John’s now serves as a concert hall for the BBC though today…

Getting ready for a banquet?

…they seemed to be preparing it for a banquet.

Victoria Tower Gardens

We were approaching the Thames and a certain famous institution. Here there is a small park called Victoria Tower Gardens from where you have a view of the institution in question.

Buxton Memorial Fountain

In the gardens are a number of memorial objects, among which is this, the Buxton Memorial Fountain to the emancipation of slaves.

The Burgers of Calais
Auguste Rodin

There is also the impressive group of statuary, the Burguers of Calais by Auguste Rodin.

Emmeline Pankhurst
A G Walker

Not least is the memorial by A G Walker to Emmeline Pankhurst

The Victoria Tower

This is the Victoria Tower from which the gardens derive their name. The above mentioned “institution” to which it belongs is of course the Houses of Parliament.

The Thames

We went to have a look at the river Thames. The bridge is Lambeth Bridge.

Big Ben
Photo by Tigger

Tigger took this photo of Big Ben peeping over the Houses of Parliament.

Westminster Abbey

I took a photo in the failing light of Westminster Abbey with the statue of George V by William Reid Dick.

Aboard the 24

We started our journey home by catching a 24 bus. Happily, the return journey along Regent’s Street was not as slow as our previous passage along it.

Changing buses

The bus dumped us at Warren Street Station and we walked to the bus stop at the top of Euston Road for our next bus.

Aboard the 205

We caught a 205 which was crowded so we had to sit at the back. I took this photo through the rear window between the heads of other passengers.

It had been cold out and so I was glad to reach home and make a nice hot cup of tea !

Kensington to Piccadilly

It was a sunny day today though chilly as…

Tolpuddle Street and Culpeper Park

…this picture perhaps indicates. We walked along Cloudesley Road beside the park and then cut through Cloudesley Place into Liverpool Road.

Old Royal Free Hospital

We came to the Old Royal Free Hospital, now a residential estate.

Passing through the estate

We passed through the estate. It contains buildings of several different periods though, I think, with fairly happy results.

Caffè Nero

This brought us to Islington Green in whose branch of Caffè Nero we spent some time, drinking coffee and chatting.

Cass Art

Afterwards, we crossed Essex Road into Colebrooke Row where we paid a visit to the Islington branch of Cass Art, where Tigger had some purchases to make.

Inside Cass Art

It is an impressive store on two floors with everything that an artist night need.

Aboard the 38

We next boarded a number 38 bus for the first stage of our journey.

Piccadilly at Green Park

This took us along Piccadilly to the bus stop at Green Park.

Le Pain Quotidien

From Green Park, a number 14 bus brought us to Kensington where we started prospecting for lunch. Everywhere was crowded (perhaps the sunshine had encouraged people to come out) but we eventually tried our luck at the local branch of Le Pain Quotidien, though we had to wait a few minutes for a table to become free.

Inside Le Pain Quotidien
Photo by Tigger

We had seats at the restaurant’s long, multi-place table – this “communal table” is a feature of this Belgian firm’s restaurants though they have conventional smaller tables as well. Le Pain Quotidien used to be one of our favourite restaurants and we breakfasted often at the St Pancras branch until the pandemic curtailed our activities so it was interesting to renew our acquaintance over lunch.

Walking in Kensington

We walked a while in Kensington which I think used to be considered a fairly posh area but it seems rather more cosmopolitan these days. Because the French Consulate, the French Institute and the Lycée Français are here, the area has a number of French (real or imitation) shops and cafes.

Inside Page’s French bookshop

One of these is La Page French bookshop. We went in for a look round. The shop is quite big with a huge array of books in French on all subjects. It would take quite a while to become familiar with it all.

Aboard the 39

We started our journey back by catching a number 39 bus.

Kensington Arcade

We made a brief pause at Kensington Arcade. We had vague ideas of having a coffee break but everywhere was crowded so we continued on.

Burlington Arcade

A couple of buses later, we arrived back in Piccadilly and exited the bus near the famous Burlington Arcade.

Burlington House

Here too is Burlington House, home to the Royal Academy of Arts and to several important learned societies.

Church of St James Piccadilly

We passed in front of the 17th-century (designed by Christopher Wren) Church of St James. It was damaged in the Second World War and restored in the 1950s.

Kahve Dünyasi

Our destination was another of our favourites, the Turkish coffee house, Kahve Dünyasi. As was only to be expected, it was very busy but we were lucky and found a table.

Inside Kahve Dünyasi
Photo by Tigger

Everything served is Turkish, as you would expect.

Turkish ice cream with chocolate sauce

Tigger chose Turkish ice cream with chocolate sauce.

Turkish coffee

I chose Turkish coffee. It is served with a glass of water and a chocolate, which is a product of the firm. Turkish coffee has a unique taste and comes with a thick layer of coffee grounds at the bottom of the cup. If you don’t know this, it provides an interesting surprise the first time you order Turkish coffee!

Aboard the 38

After this agreeable interlude, we crossed the road to the bus stop and caught a number 38 bus.

Back at the Angel

The bus carried us through the busy streets back to the Angel. Although the sun was still shining, it was by now low in the sky, giving the scene a distinct “evening” feel. It was good to return home and relax.

Laundry Sunday

Having tried the laundry service at three separate businesses and having suffered losses of items at all of them, we have decided to go back to doing the job ourselves at the launderette.

Queueing at Sainsbury’s

First, though, we needed to do our usual Sunday shopping. When we reached Sainsbury’s, they had not managed to open on time (this branch is particularly bad at that, for some reason), and we joined a queue of waiting customers.

Inside Sainsbury’s

Once admitted, we sped round the shelves, each having a list of items to deal with. We had soon finished and carted our purchases home, picking up coffee from Mercer’s on the way past.

Sunshine

After lunch, having emptied the shopping trolley, we filled it up again – this time with laundry! As we went to the bus stop, we were cheered by the sun shining though the air was quite chilly.

Aboard the 30

We heaved the trolley onto a number 30 bus. It was fairly full and I stayed with the trolley in the wheelchair area, hoping that no wheelchair passengers would want to board the bus. In that, I was lucky as none did.

The British Library stop

We unloaded the trolley and ourselves at the stop near the British Library.

Mabledon Place

From the bus stop, we set off up Mabledon Place, then…

Cartwright Gardens

…through Cartwright Gardens, where some brave people were playing tennis, and thence…

The launderette

…into Marchmont Street where we find the launderette. We had not been here since before the Covid pandemic struck and so we were not surprised to find a few changes.

Machines of three sizes

The main change, of course, was that prices had increased. There are three sizes of washing machines and we used a large and a medium at £10 and £8, respectively.

Costa

We set the machines going and then, as the wash cycle takes about 40 minutes, we went along the road to Costa and had coffee. (It’s safe to leave the machines because they cannot be opened while they are running.)

We then returned and went through the drying process. This is slow and the more items you put in a dryer, the less likely they are to dry. Drying is therefore a tedious process on running the dryer, taking out any items that are dry and running the dryer again, repeating the process until everything has been dried. The whole performance of washing and drying previously cost us £17. Today, owing to the price increases, it cost £30.

Darkness in Marchmont Street

By the time we emerged from the launderette, darkness had fallen. We followed the road back to the British Library bus stop where we heaved our trolley onto a number 73 bus.

Aboard the 73

This time, we had seats adjacent to the wheelchair area so we could sit down with our trolley beside us. The bus carried us up the hill to the Angel.

St Mark’s Church

We deposited the trolley at home and then, because Tigger needed to walk a little bit more to “close the ring”, we went for a stroll round Myddelton Square. The lights were on in the church but the outside was not illuminated. Maybe they need to economise in these times of high energy costs.

The Curvaceous Tree

Before turning for home, I took a photo of my favourite, the Curvaceous Tree. Well, I don’t want it to think I have forgotten it! Just now it is winter-bare and I am looking forward to seeing it produce new green leaves in spring.

We returned home to put away the laundry and enjoy a cosy evening at home.

Rainy Saturday

It’s a rather wet day but not too cold (around 11°C).

Angel Crossroads
Angel Crossroads

This photo taken at the Angel crossroads will give you an idea of the conditions.

Walking down St John Street
Walking down St John Street

We could have caught a bus but as the object was to walk (and “close the ring” on Tigger’s walk app), we set off on foot down St John Street.

Islington Museum
Islington Museum

Reaching Finsbury Library, we went down the steps to the basement where Islington Museum is found.

Figure of Joseph Grimaldi Photo by Tigger
Figure of Joseph Grimaldi
Photo by Tigger

Among the exhibits, we found this charming miniature representation of famous Islingtonian, Joseph Grimaldi, known as “the father of clowning”. It was probably made in Staffordshire in the 1840s or 1850s.

Lloyd’s Milk Cart
Lloyd’s Milk Cart

Lloyd’s set up business in Amwell Street in 1914 and continued trading until 2007. They used this cart to supply milk to customers around the neighbourhood from their beginnings until 1947 when bottled milk delivered to the doorstep superseded milk ladled from churns into customers’ jugs.

Bust of Lenin Berthold Lubetkin
Bust of Lenin
Berthold Lubetkin

As I moved around the museum, I was aware of a Paddington-Bearesque “hard stare” from Vladimir Lenin. The bust, by Berthold Lubetkin, was part of a monument erected by the now defunct Finsbury Council in 1942. Lenin occupied premises in Clerkenwell Green that today house the Marx Memorial Library.

Continuing down St John Street
Continuing down St John Street

Leaving the museum, we braved the rain once more, continuing down St John Street.

Crossing through Brewhouse Yard
Crossing through Brewhouse Yard

We crossed through Brewhouse Yard. The rain was now so heavy that we sought shelter in a doorway until it eased off somewhat.

Into Goswell Road
Into Goswell Road

Our path led us into Goswell Road where we decided to take temporary refuge from the wet weather in…

Costa
Costa

…a branch of Costa Coffee. We hung our dripping coats on the backs of our chairs to dry off.

Near the Barbican Estate Photo by Tigger
Near the Barbican Estate
Photo by Tigger

We passed along one edge of the Barbican Estate, that icon of “Brutalist” architecture, where…

Relief
Relief

…I paused to photograph this artwork in relief, though I’m sure I’ve photographed it before.

St Bartholomew the Great
St Bartholomew the Great

We entered the precinct of the Church of St Bartholomew the Great, originally a Medieval priory church but much altered and rebuilt since.

Main gate
Main gate

We left by the picturesque main gate.

Grounds of St Bartholomew’s Hospital
Grounds of St Bartholomew’s Hospital

While walking, we had be prospecting for lunch but all the cafes seemed to be shut. We entered the grounds of St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the hope that there would be a cafe. However, our search proved fruitless.

Aboard the 56
Aboard the 56

We decided to try our luck elsewhere and as Tigger had “closed the ring” on her walking app (in fact, it was a quarter of the way round the second loop!), we felt it was legitimate to take the bus. We caught a 56 and then a 63 to Upper Street.

The Workers Cafe
The Workers Cafe

We planned to have lunch in the Workers Cafe in Upper Street. This is a good cafe and one of our favourites but we found it was full and people were queueing for tables. So we walked on, looking for an alternative.

Le Mercury
Le Mercury

Most places were crowded until we reached Le Mercury where we had eaten once before. There was a table free so in we went. We chose one of the two fixed-price menus. The main course was Cauliflower Steak (vegetarian). Unfortunately, it was heavily laced with chilli and Tigger couldn’t eat it. Being of a tougher constitution (or less sensitive – take your pick), I ate both. We had crème brûlée to finish, which also helped calm the chilli fire. (On the way home, we bought a little something from Wenzel’s Bakery to make up for Tigger’s missed main course.)

Diverting through “Islington Square”
Diverting through “Islington Square”

Upper Street was unpleasantly crowded so we diverted through the complex with the ridiculous name of “Islington Square”, which is a combination of residential properties with retail outlets and restaurants. Not a “square” by any stretch of the imagination.

Old Royal Free Hispital
Old Royal Free Hispital

We emerged into Liverpool Road and passed the picturesque Old Royal Free Hospital, now a residential estate.

Chapel Market
Chapel Market

We walked through Chapel Market from where we were soon home. It was a relief to be in the dry once more and to relax with a nice cup of tea.