Up To St Mary & St Nicholas


We arrived at Leatherhead’s Travelodge in time to watch the Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and Wales. I must say this hotel is the best appointed and friendliest in the budget chain that I have experienced. I was happy to tell the manager this the next morning.

Early in the evening we dined at Piazza Firenze Italian restaurant in High St with Helen and Bill, Pat, Christine, and Olivia. Shelly and Ron joined us a bit later. The service was friendly and efficient and the food and wine excellent. I enjoyed a starter of meat balls, a calzone, and a crepe Vesuvio. Pat, Bill and I shared a bottle of Montepulciano. I rather lost track of what anyone else ate or drank.

We then watched the Godalming Operatic Society’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Sorcerer, directed by Jackie’s cousin, Pat O’Connell. Pat has now directed the whole of the G & S canon for this company, and has decided that this will be his last. I have no doubt, however, that the players will wish to keep very much in touch with him.

Supplemented for this production by the professional tenor David Menezes as Alexis, this is a very fine amateur group that has been performing regularly since 1925.

I am no connoisseur, but it seemed to me that it took a while to warm up, yet when it did it burst into delightful fun, for players and audience alike. There were many good voices, splendidly performed choreography, lively group scenes, and a number of amusing comic turns.

Afterwards we enjoyed drinks and conversation in the bar.

As usual, in the morning, being first up, I ventured into the quiet, sunlit Leatherhead streets. A gentleman I met walking his dog described the morning as “fresh”. I had to agree. The manager was manning the hotel reception desk. During our conversation he directed me to the church of St Mary and St Nicholas where he said there was an historic tree. I didn’t find the tree

but I did walk up Church Street

As one leaves the modern section pictured above, buildings of older eras still stand.

The Mansion garden wall bears a plaque detailing its history.

A variety of windows catch the eye. The first of the trio above, protected by an iron grill, reflects the rooftops opposite. The second bears the name of Vapepit, the twenty first century occupant of the premises of a nineteenth century coal merchant. Vape is what you do with an e-cigarette in an attempt to give up nicotine. There is quite an intense controversy about whether this is beneficial or more harmful to health. More information is contained in this article from The Guardian newspaper: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/13/e-cigarettes-vaping-safe-old-fashioned-smoke.

The last of the three windows is on the wall of the church

alongside which is a public park.

After wandering among the gravestones for a while I gave up looking for the tree. Between two stones in the last of this group of pictures lies a brick formation in the shape of a human body.

Our group gathered in the foyer and repaired to Weatherspoons for an excellent, remarkably inexpensive, breakfast. When the party dispersed Jackie drove us home where I watched a recording of yesterday’s rugby match between England and Scotland.

I enjoyed a salt beef, mustard, and mayo sandwich this evening. Jackie’s choice was tuna mayo.

Mostly W1


Generally when I delve into my archives that is because either the weather is foul, or I am feeling so. Whilst rather better than yesterday, it is for the latter reason that I scanned another dozen colour slides from the Streets of London Series of July 2004.

Berners Street W1

Berners Street W1 sports a fruit and vegetable stall useful to visitors, residents, and local workers alike. It is overlooked by the Post Office Tower in the left of the picture.

Great Titchfield Street W1

On the corner of Great Titchfield Street W1, football fans are the stallholders’ targets.

I have been unable to find any information about this chapel, on the steps of which, adjacent to Chapel Place W1, young people enjoy their lunch in the sunshine. (I am grateful to Paul Clarke who has done the research and provides a link to the story in his comment below)

The fire engine seen in the first of these photographs of Chiltern Street W1 suggests that the ornate building occupying the right hand side of the frame was then still a working fire station, but, like The Fire Station at Waterloo, is now a luxury hotel and restaurant named The Chiltern Firehouse.

Montagu Mews North W1

If you ask me, the cyclist emerging from Montagu Mews North W1, is taking her life in her hands. But she is no doubt experienced at dodging London traffic.

Saint Michael's Street W2

Mind you, I do hope she steers clear of Saint Michael’s Street W1. Whether you look up or down, you couldn’t get much more into the shot.

Brendon Street W1

Maybe she would fare better in Brendon Street, and at the same time get a view of a sun-tanned, shirtless, builder up a ladder.

Longford Street NW1

Leaving Westminster and entering Camden, we see, in Longford Street NW1, some of that London Borough’s recycling bins. Recycling is a contentious issue here in UK, for every Local Authority has its own regulations as to what is and isn’t acceptable, and much of what is collected rots in warehouses anyway. It is admirable that efforts should be made in this direction but the systems are apparently far from perfect.

Great Titchfield Street W1

Longford Street leads us to Drummond Street NW1. The Mystic Maze appears to be where one can find Exodus Travels who will arrange your tours for you.

Church Street, NW8

Alfie’s Antique Market, its proprietor clearly a fan of Gustav Klimt, is one of many such outlets that line Church Street NW8. ‘It houses over seventy-five dealers offering antiques; including silver, furniture, jewellery, paintings, ceramics, glass and vintage clothing.’ Wikipedia

Today’s evening meal, the first of the day for most of us, was an interesting affair. Becky, now being the only fit family member, knocked up various concoctions from available sources, according to what people thought they could manage. It is perhaps a measure of my improvement that I chose breaded mushrooms, vegetable samosa, and savoury rice; and drank half a glass of Costières de Nîmes.