Farringdon And Paddington


This morning I scanned another dozen colour slides from the Streets of London series, produced in July 2004.

Clerkenwell Road EC1 7.04 1

Clerkenwell Road EC1 was featured on 15th January. These were probably pictured at the same time as the first ones. I swear I had no idea what was being advertised in the Jack posters. Intensive Internet research informs me that this was a magazine for gentlemen of a more intellectual bent than most. 2004 was its final year of publication.

Clerkenwell Road EC1 7.04 2

The church in the second shot is that of St. James. From about 1100 to 1539, when it fell foul of King Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, St. Mary’s nunnery stood on the site. Grafted onto the remains of the nunnery church in 1540, the place of worship, after several alterations, was rebuilt in the18th century, being dedicated in 1792. That is the building you see today. It is not, in fact, attempting to emulate the leaning tower of Pisa, but the width of this shot distorted the image so that I had to choose between the circular structure in the foreground and the more distant church to straighten.

Clerkenwell Road EC1 7.04 3

This view is a little further down the road. Here is a link to Susannah Hall’s website: https://susannahhall.com

Clerkenwell Close EC1 7.04

This young lady, pretty in pink, brightened up Clerkewell Close EC1

From its junction with Clerkenwell Road, Farringdon Road EC1 runs south to Blackfriars Bridge. It is Greville Street that climbs the hill up to Hatton Garden in the second picture.

Cowcross Street EC1 7.04

A public house has existed on the site of The Castle in Cowcross Street EC1 from at least the 18th Century. According to Wikipedia “it was once frequented by King George IV, who issued the landlord with a pawnbroker’s licence and handed over his gold watch to obtain some cash after losing money on a cockfight.”

Benjamin Street EC1 7.04

Both Cowcross Street and Benjamin Street EC1 lead to Farringdon Station. The BAR E S on the corner has lost a couple of letters. There is no truth in the rumour that Johnny Depp’s Sweeney Todd gave Alan Rickman a close shave in these premises.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=omD3m-xwBWk&w=560&h=315]

The 19th century Grand Junction Arms, as refurbished in the 1930s in Praed Street, dwarfed in 2004 by the development of Paddington Basin, at the end of South Wharf Road W2 was, I understand, closed possibly as recently as last year.

Junction Place/Praed Street W2 7.04

Junction Street W2 forms a corner with Praed St,

St Michael's Street W2 7.04

and St Michael’s Street runs parallel to it.

This evening we dined on aromatic lemon chicken; sautéed leeks, peppers, and mushrooms; boiled potatoes and carrots; and Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Lion’s Lair Shiraz 2013.


A Postcard

My bereaved sister-in-law Frances, is working her way through the unenviable task of sorting through Chris’s effects. This means that some treasures come my way. None more amazing than the postcard she sent me this morning. The stamp on this missive I mailed to my family when we were still living at Stanton Road, shows that first class post in about 1958 cost 2 1/2 pence in old money. Today’s equivalent is fractionally more than 1p. A very early portrait of Queen Elizabeth II is featured. The postmark is illegible, but the content tells me that this was sent from Ockley, where I spent a summer holiday with Ken Lovell and George Edwards’

When Chris asked me to help him write up his family history, he praised my writing ability, but commented that I had ‘verbal diarrhoea’. What I managed to cram into an area of 63 square centimeters on this small card is surely evidence of this.Postcard 1958

In case you can’t read it, here is the text: ‘Dear all. I hope you’re having as nice weather as I’m having. Well done Chris. Send Prof my congratulations. Thanks for the letter mum. I had no idea so much of interest would be crammed into two pages. The first day I ran 3 mls and walked 5. The second day I walked 1! The farm animals come so close to the garden that I can draw them. Last night the farmer, who brings his cattle down the main road twice a day, got into an awful jam on the main road in the dark with them – cars were tearing down at 80, and not seeing his notice. Also Jacqueline there’s a mare with a baby foal which gallops over when anyone comes to the gate. After painting the house yesterday Ken and I went blackberrying – we got loads of them in a very short time. Probably today I will go down ‘weird’ St and do a watercolour. Ken’s cooking is as wonderful as the rest of his housekeeping. P.S. Will catch early morning train home Monday morning so have some dinner for me. Love Derrick.’ In fact, zooming in on the image makes it perfectly legible.

ALC_posterThis afternoon we travelled to Christchurch’s  Regent Centre in Shelly’s car, where we were joined by Helen, and Shelly’s friend Jo, in order to watch the fictional period drama ‘A Little Chaos’. Directed by Alan Rickman, who starred as King Louis XIV of France, it tells the story, written by Allison Deegan, of a partnership of landscape gardeners striving to complete a fountain design for the garden of Versailles. Kate Winslet puts in a suitable strong, sensitive, performance as the woman whose designs and strength of character caused Maitre Le Notre, to employ her to carry out the project. For the sake of anyone who may wish see the 2014 release, I won’t give away any of the story, but can say that it was beautifully filmed; that Matthias Schoenaerts was suitably restrained and brooding as the king’s gardener; and that Alan Rickman played the deadpan, somewhat bored, yet humorous, Sun King to perfection It is definitely worth seeing.


Before returning home we enjoyed pleasant company, coffee, and cake at Shelly and Ron’s. The huge pink mound dominating their garden is in fact a splendid azalea.


This evening’s dinner was what I call Jackie’s symphony in white, consisting of smoked haddock, piquant cauliflower cheese, mashed potato and swede, and crisp carrots. This time we enjoyed the addition of green beans. I suppose you can have two colours in a white symphony. After all, James Abbot McNeill Whistler, in his similarly titled paintings, did so. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, whilst I drank more of the Chateuneuf du Pape.


Last night I watched a DVD of the Golden Globe winner, Tim Burton’s ‘Sweeney Todd, the demon barber of Fleet Street’.  The film is visually stunning, musically dramatic, and lyrically witty.  Based on Stephen Sondheim’s acclaimed stage production, it is a grisly tragi-comedy, definitely not for the faint-hearted.  Johnny Depp as the eponymous lead character was well worthy of his prize and other nominations.  He is a suitably vengefully deranged killer who has a singing voice marginally better than Rex Harrison in ‘My Fair Lady’.  Helena Bonham-Carter as his complex accomplice Mrs. Lovett is equally superb, has a rather good voice, and an accent that would have suited Eliza Doolittle. Brilliant casting includes the ever-menacing Alan Rickman, and the splendidly slimy Timothy Spall, both of whom bravely tackled their songs, as did Sacha Baron Cohen in his flamboyant cameo role.

Whilst watching, I was stung by what felt and looked like a bee until I took my revenge on it.  I felt its presence, felt for it, fingered it, then felt the sting.  I squashed it.  Perhaps it was just as well this was not a Dracula film, or I may have been less sanguine.

Having first read H.T.Mason’s English introduction this morning, I made a good start on Voltaire’s ‘Zadig’ in French.  Dana then drove me to Bergerac airport and we talked curry.  Jackie was at Southampton to drive me home, and later to The Curry Garden in Ringwood where we enjoyed the usual excellent meal and Kingfisher beer.  A meal which has become my favourite here is hatkora.  The hatkora is a citrus fruit native to Bangladesh.  It is the rind that is used in this dish which The Curry Garden will make to your required heat strength including a choice of meat or fish.  I have not seen it in any other restaurant.

Frost on plane porthole

I understand it is very cold high above the clouds, even in bright sunshine.  Cold enough for frost patterns to become etched on the glass of the airborne portholes. Unlike those of the winter bedroom windows of my childhood, they stayed outside the plane.