Tuesday 21 July 2009

London Pride

Home safely - and the good news is, there is NOTHING wrong with the camera!!It is all to do with the batteries - some, like the Duracell ones, and the Ever Ready ones, have a slightly dimpled bottom which doesn't make good contact - but the [cheaper] Maplin and Ikea ones are absolutely fine. So sorry about lack of 'real' pictures, but glad to have that sorted!

My non-stop mini City Break Holiday with Liz was jam-packed with stuff...

Sunday we went north, over Tower Bridge, and out to the City of London Cemetery Open Day.

cemetery 3 Liz has always had a fascination with cemeteries. The added attraction of this one was that there would be a company displaying their horse-drawn hearses.

Lots of notable people are in this cemetery and the Open Day was well organised and we saw lots of things- and went into both the Old Chapel [and discussed technical issues of cremation with the staff!] and the new chapel to watch a DVD about the Cemetery.

The place is redolent with history - graves of famous, infamous and unknown people. War heroes, more modern personalities [footballer Bobby Moore, actress Anna Neagle...]

cemetery 1




The lovely Old Chapel




cemetery 8





The hearse







Some of the marble tombs are most elaborately detailed







cemetery 4

Two of Jack The Ripper's victims are here

cemetery 7








cemetery 6

Catherine Eddows and Mary Anne Nicholls rest in the grass. Visitors often put flowers on their graves. Liz commented that it was sad that some people will do that, but have no care at all for the exploitation of workers in the sex-trade in today's world. [Check out Lauren Bethell who is doing something about it]

You can find much more information, and good pictures here about the Cemetery. A number of companies had stalls advertising their services, including one which offered "Pre-paid Funeral Plans, we can arrange every detail for you in advance". I pointed out that they couldn't fix the time and date, and the man laughed and said nobody had ever pointed that out before!

After that we drove out to Romford to see Auntie Peggy, Gillian and Julian. That was fun [apart from major traffic hold ups round the installation of the Manor Park Gas Pipes] Auntie Peg has just had her bungalow rewired, and this meant she had to clear her loft. She had sorted out loads of stuff she no longer wanted - some has gone to the tip, some to the charity shop - and she had set aside 4 bags of craft stuff to give me for my Great Stash!! Liz was most amused. There are some real treasures in there which I will sort out later.

In the evening we went to Steph's and sat round the dining table in the kitchen with her and Mark and she'd done a lovely lamb dish [variation on a Rachel Allen Recipe], which we followed with Liz's choc'n'coconut puddings.

youngvic We left relatively early and picked up a DVD from Blockbusters on the way back to Elephant.

We quite enjoyed "Young Victoria" - and I sat and sewed up trouser hems whilst watching it. That makes 5 pairs I have shortened this week [so far!]

Jon got back around midnight, tired but obviously having enjoyed himself. I confess it is not my sort of music at all, but you can check out Monkeysteak here.

severs outside Monday, Liz and I went off on the bus to Spitalfields. The Huguenot community was strong in the heart of Spitalfields, and this area of London has undergone quite a regeneration in recent years but some of the history is still evident. Liz and I went specifically to visit Dennis Severs House.This was a fabulous experience

A family of Huguenot silk weavers named Jervis lived here. As you enter, you feel they have just popped out briefly, for there is evidence all around of their presence - the tea is still warm, the candles are burning, the lemons and carrots in the kitchen are freshly sliced... The website gives a good flavour of the experience, but it really was wonderful to be in their home.


The rooms give ten vignettes of life nearly two hundred years ago

It was fascinating to observe the details and smell the smells and hear the sounds.

You are asked to be

sisevers2lent, partly because there is a soundtrack played throughout the house, partly to force you to contemplate what you are seeing. And this does help add to the atmosphere as you find your way around.  Walking into the  hallway, there is a immediate sense of stepping into another world.

In the upstairs room, as you are aware of the sound of cannonfire in the distance, a notice tells you that the servants have gone to Hyde Park, to see the artillery firing a salute - the King is dead, and young Princess Victoria is now Queen! Liz and I hadn't realised how apposite our DVD of the previous evening would prove to be!

it was a fiver well spent, and I am still thinking about the things noticed and feelings I had there.

pilpel We walked out into the sunshine and across to Brushfield Street, where we enjoyed falafels and hummus for lunch at Pilpel.Then a quick trip up to Oxford Street, and Liz wanted to get something in John Lewis and I wanted to check out borders [closing down, everything half price]

norfolk walks


I got this one for next to nothing, to put on the bookshelf at Cornerstones.

It looks very useful

Then we hopped on a bus and went back to Elephant.

There was a woman on The Plinth blowing bubbles.


Spent a tenner in Oli's Food Centre. this amazing 24 hour Turkish/Polish/ Mediterranean store has not closed in five years.

It stocks a vast range of foodstuffs and I treated myself to all sorts of interesting bits and pieces - and the total bill was ridiculously low for the amount of produce [and excitement] I received!

daktyla bread We went back to the flat and Liz threw together a delicious couscous, and salad which we ate with taramasalata and daktyla [Greek 'finger' bread]

Then we drove over to Docklands. Every Monday, Liz has a riding lesson at Mudchute City Farm. I took my book, and sat alternately watching her, and reading.


It is amazing to be in the middle of a city, and yet in this tranquil area with stables and horses and other animals. I wished the camera was working, as I would have loved to get a pic of Liz on horseback!


This picture is one of the other regular riders.

The arena is quite large and surrounded by trees - it was a pleasant summer evening and I did enjoy myself.

Back to the flat, and I packed everything, including a bag of mugs and books which Liz was donating to Cornerstones. The Lambeth Library Service had phoned to say we had come second in the competition at Saturday's Fair. So we have won a hamper of books! Apparently nobody got 100% correct answers. Liz will collect the prize then we will divvie them up between London,Leicester and Cornerstones.

This morning I was up early, loaded the car, said goodbye to L&J and got home around 11am. It is always good to get back - but it was a great mini-break, and left me feeling very relaxed. I needed that, the Pre-Holiday-Club-Stress was getting to me I think.

I love being with Liz and Steph - and I do so love London

Cockney feet mark the beat of history
Every street pins a memory down.
Nothing ever can quite replace
The grace of London Town.

There's a little city flower every spring unfailing
Growing in the crevices by some London railing,
Though it has a Latin name, in town and country-side
We in England call it London Pride.
London Pride has been handed down to us.
London Pride is a flower that's free.
London Pride means our own dear town to us,
And our pride it for ever will be.

In our city darkened now, street and square and crescent,
We can feel our living past in our shadowed present,
Ghosts beside our starlit Thames who lived and loved and died
Keep throughout the ages London Pride.
Grey city stubbornly implanted,
Taken so for granted for a thousand years.
Stay, city, smokily enchanted,
Cradle of our memories and hopes and fears.
Every Blitz your resistance toughening,
From the Ritz to the Anchor and Crown,
Nothing ever could override
The pride of London Town.


  1. What a wonderful time you had, and what fascinating places you visited. The silk weavers house sounds somewhere to spend a long contemplative time.

  2. Ooops! So is your holiday club next week?
    I have prayed for you yeasterday & today that the morning is going well - lol!!
    I can just imagine my Father in heaven smiling, shaking his head and sighing - "Bless her - she's got it wrong - again!"


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