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30 April 2019

London Peculiars – a book by Peter Ashley

I have recently been flicking though a fab new book ticking off the contents in my head, inwardly saying "been there, seen that, ooh... must go find that".
Actually, I must confess here that I am a little bit annoyed with myself, envious even, because I have been threatening for years to put together a book of my observations and due to being distracted by even more intriguing things my book has still not evolved. It's hard to know when to stop 'collecting'!

Some randomly-chosen pages from London Peculiars published by ACC Art Books
As you can see from my dodgy snaps above, Peter's book is a collection of photos and info about details and hidden spaces in our great metropolis – tiles and stone reliefs, gardens and monuments, alleys and ghostsigns. Actually I am wondering if Mr Ashley might be getting some of his idea from this blog... hmmm... ha ha.
Perhaps I should contact him and go on a wander with him some time...?

23 April 2019

Remember the Poor's Box – Charity and the kindness of stangers

Next time you are in the West Smithfield area please do take a little detour though the Henry VIII gate that leads to St Bartholomew's Hospital.
Within the gate you'll find this delightful, albeit sad, artefact.

No chugging, no coloured bibs, no sponsoring – just a little red box atop a pillar.
Please give generously.
More info here. 

18 April 2019

Norway Wharf

Wandering around Dalston a few weeks ago I ambled down onto the canal towpath and had a peek around Kingsland Basin that used to serve Norway, Benyon and Quebec Wharves etc. There's not much going on there these days – it's all waterside apartments, pushchairs and pilates.

On the northwest side there is an information board which I assume was put there to enlighten visitors who might wonder what went on in these marvellous brick-built warehouses 200 years ago.
Well, if you'd like to read the board, you'll need to be 6ft tall or sitting on someone's shoulders as it's set too high for the average able-bodied mortal and there is no platform to stand on. Add to that, it's protected by 'clear' plexiglass that has over time become frosted; effectively a blurring of the past.
Near to the sign and the stable block there is a rather nice linear depiction of the Regents Canal carved into the paving. It sort of makes up for the info board, but not really.

5 April 2019

Balloons and A Great Expedition via Gingerline

Along the Victoria Line platforms at Finsbury Park tube station there are some marvellous colourful mosaics of balloons. These are probably historically incorrect for this location, but hey they are a nice distraction.
They tie up nicely with a night out I had last week at one of Gingerline's clandestine dining adventures; the current experience is A Grand Expedition being a Phileas Fogg -style balloon trip around the world.
I can't tell you where this was located because it's all a bit secret squirrel – you are told that the your night out will somewhere along the northern half of the Victoria Line but the specific location is not given until the afternoon, via text.
When you get there you enter the dining space to you find you are inside, completely surrounded by, the experience, as if you are part of a play. The 'stage' for this is well-throught-through and marvellously evocative. Performers act out scenes and deliver the food in character whilst all around there are animations, graphics, evocative sounds and music.
Many other guests had been to previous Gingerline events and were coming back for more.
Hmm... thinks... perhaps I could offer some non-specified themed guided walks...

1 April 2019

Spring into Spring

This is part of a large mosaic wall panel which features on one of my guided walks.
But the walk does not take us to any of the places shown here.
See here for more.