Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Accidental Reads: Portobello Road - Lives of a Neighbourhood

I have just finished reading one of those books you never want to end. I whistled through its pages in the space of two days. It was the kind of book I wish I could write about this city - the history of an area, a single street in fact, told through the stories of the individuals that made it the place it is. Portobello Road in Notting Hill is known to many as a tourist-filled market, a place to buy knock-off vintage clothing. It is a candy-coloured strip of houses and stalls, a place to potter lazily at weekends. 

But there is so much more to this single road than the average visitor will ever discover.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Accidental Visits: Borough Market without the crowds

Visiting Borough Market is a classic thing to do with visitors in London. Plenty of my friends who've had relations and pals come and stay for a weekend have marched them down to Borough in Southwark to wander and eat on a Saturday morning. They have stocked up on yummy bread and cheese, stuffed themselves with free samples, and brunched on gourmet sausage sandwiches. It's a classic city entertaining move. And I commend them, but I have never been brave enough to do it myself. Borough Market is one of the busiest markets in the city, and Saturday mornings for me are times for peace and quiet, civilised conversation and the first well-deserved skinny cap of the weekend. And I can't be enjoying all that with hundreds of other people jostling me to grab a sample of tapenade on an oatcake. 

The market operates for wholesalers every weekday, but is only open to retail customers (read: normal Londoners and their out-of-town visitors) from Wednesday to Saturday. This Monday afternoon, long after even the morning's wholesale trading had wrapped up, I found myself down near Borough Market, so I popped along for a lonely, peaceful wander around the place...

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Books About Town by the National Literacy Trust

London's streets have seen their fair share of pop-up art series in the past few years. We've had elephants (more than once), Easter eggs, and now we have books. Dotted around the city currently are fifty illustrated benches, shaped like open books. This is the Books About Town campaign, launched by the National Literacy Trust earlier this week. It aims to promote reading for fun, as well as learning about London's literary history. Like the elephants and Easter eggs, the benches will be auctioned off to raise funds for the National Literacy Trust, at the end of the summer.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

May and June

What with one thing and another, and working a two month notice period that came to an end with the start of a July, May and June ran into one another somewhat.

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