Alex Schneideman

On another oppressively humid overcast day Jackie drove me to Southampton whence I had an uneventful journey to Waterloo. Golden Jubilee Bridge From there, along, it seemed, with the rest of the world, I walked across Golden Jubilee Bridge which runs parallel with an older railway one;Golden Jubilee Bridge and older railway one past Charing Cross; through Trafalgar Square; along Pall Mall; up Haymarket to Piccadilly Circus; along Oxford Street to Marble Arch; through to Bayswater Road, where the throng thinned a little; right into Leinster Terrace; then via Craven Hill Gardens and Porchester and Queensborough Terraces, weaved my way to the top end of Queensway; along Westbourne Grove, and finally into Sutherland Place.

A little early for my appointment to make the inventory of my belongings soon to be removed from number 29, I sat for a while in Shrewsbury Gardens at the end of the road, watching dogs crapping on the grass, and listening to gleeful children in the Catholic primary school playground alongside.

An American gentleman, seeking former residences of Marconi, on whom he was doing some research, sought St. Stephen’s Square.  Neither I nor a 67 year old woman who had lived in the area all her life, knew of this.  We came to the conclusion that it may have been bombed during the war, built over, and renamed.

Greenery figuresA couple more greenery figures (see post of 5th June) are chatting over their garden fence in front of the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank.

Trafalgar Square fountainNational Gallery stepsThe coping surrounding the fountains in Trafalgar Square and the steps of the National Gallery provided perches from the young of the globe. Trafalgar Square A boy on a rocking horse attempted to leap over one of the lions which Matthew had scaled with such trepidation in September 1976.  Matthew climbing lion, Tafalgar Square, 9.76(If you haven’t already twigged this, clicking on the images enlarges them.  This is sometimes necessary to see the detail of the pictures and possibly the points of my jokes.)

Turkey plea

A chalked plea for the people of Turkey was inscribed on some paving stones.

In Haymarket a group of portly businessmen tottered out of a wine bar promising each other e-mails in the morning.  It is to be hoped that at least one of them remembered.

As I walked down Regent Street I thought of Simon (see post of 10th June) who had sought a memento of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, and speculated that he would have liked the pennants strung across the road.  I ignored the ‘crossing not in use sign’.Regent Street

Returning my smile, a young woman in Oxford Street distributing leaflets advertising a waxing service refrained from offering me one.

Halepi restaurant

The Halepi and Zorbas (no apostrophe) restaurants featured in ‘Feng Shui’,  posted on 9th January, are situated in Leinster Terrace.

Zorbas restaurant Contrary to expectations, Zorbas seems still to be in business.

After the planning of the final move from Sutherland Place, I walked down to Notting Hill Gate, took the Central Line to Bond Street, and changed to the Jubilee Line which carried me back to Waterloo.  I read more of John S. Morrill’s ‘The Stuarts’ on the train, and Jackie drove me back home and fed me on chili con carne (recipe) with which I finished the Maipo merlot and she her Hoegaarden.

In 2009, whilst living in Sutherland Place and preparing the photographs for ‘The Magnificent Seven’ (see 7th April post), I realised I needed some training in how to get the best results from Photoshop.  The first tutor was one of those awful teachers who has to do it all for you, too speedily to follow, let alone make coherent notes.  He also messed up my scanner settings, making it impossible to scan anything at all without channeling it through Photoshop.  I could no longer save a picture in jpg format, and he didn’t know how to put it right.  I didn’t ask him back.

Wandering up Portobello Road one day I came across the stunning window display of a professional photographer which carried a card advertising Photoshop tuition.  If the man could produce the images on show he probably had something to teach me.  I rang the number on the card, and the photographer soon visited me at home.  He was a completely different kettle of fish.  A sensitive and artistic young man, he had all the patience needed to guide me through the processes and enable me to take notes.  He never tried to pack too much into a session.  This was Alex Schneideman who has since become a good friend and incidentally told me how to start a blog on WordPress.

After the second of our three two hour tutorials Alex asked me if he could photograph me.  This he did in the sitting room of 29 Sutherland Place, and placed a set on his website.  He also made me a present of number 21 in the ‘through the ages’ series. Derrick 2010 Another was number 20, which I reproduce here, and which demonstrates the photographer’s skill in relaxing his subjects. The photograph on the windowsill is of Michael and Heidi on their wedding day. I don’t think my portraits still adorn the website, but for anyone interested in imaginative, intuitive, photography  is well worth a visit.  Or, better still, pop along to Portobello Road and meet the man himself and also view the beautiful second-hand illustrated books in which his equally engaging wife deals.

Feng Shui?

Jubilee Gardens, Ringwood 1.13

An exchange with Lorna Barnett about a restaurant in Bali took me back to my Bayswater days.  I lived in Leinster Mews for six months in 2007.  Almost opposite, in Leinster Terrace, were two Greek restaurants about 100 yards apart at either end of a parade of shops.  One was always so full that, even alone, it was necessary to book to gain entrance.  Needless to say it was an excellent establishment where Alice, aged about seven, once had fun with the waitress.  They had struck up a banter throughout our meal.  When it came to the complimentary Delight, Alice said: ‘Ooh.  Turkish Delight.’  ‘No’, said the young lady, ‘it’s Greek Delight.’  Laughter all round.  Although Alice was somewhat confused she knew it was a joke. The other restaurant was always empty.

Two years later, when running down this street, I noticed that the unpopular venue was up for sale.  This morning, on Googling Leinster Terrace to check the location, I stumbled across ‘The tale of 2 Greek Restaurants’, a 13.11.09 posting on his blog by Dr. Michael Oon.  Dr. Oon mentions that the empty eating place had finally closed its doors.  He put the relative success of these two establishments down to Feng Shui.  The Halapi, because of its location enjoys floods of energy from two different sources, whereas the now defunct Zorba had this mystical force rushing downhill away from it.  I never tried Zorba, but I enjoyed several excellent meals and delightful service at The Halapi.  I suspect there is more to it than the relative fortune of the location of footprints.  Possibly the cooking and waiting?

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Ringwood for her to have a shop and me to have a wander.  From High Street I walked down West Street where it was market day.  From the comments of the stallholders, some of whom were packing up early, they weren’t having a very lucrative January.  I ventured into Jubilee Gardens which had become a fishing lake.  This informed me that the Avon was still in spate. Caravan site, Ringwood 1.13 Opposite this public park there are a number of angling suppliers and a path leading to the static caravan site I have seen surrounded by water from the other side of the flooded fields.  Their gardens were waterlogged and access to the riverside was impossible.

I walked back to the Castleman Trailway by the usual route and along it in alternate directions, first right, then left and back to the carpark via The Bickerley.  The paddling ponies I had seen on 23rd December 2012 had clearly been rescued, for they were nowhere in sight and there was no difference to the levels of the fast-flowing water on either side of the trail.  On the bridge over the swollen river Avon I met a beautiful catwalk model in canine form. Ozzie and owner 1.13 This was Ozzie, a young Saluki accompanied by his equally elegant owner.  Despite his gangly friskiness on display for my benefit, I was informed that he was a ‘real couch potato’ indoors.  Even after our engaging conversation, the dog’s conscientious companion remembered she had to ‘pick up his poo.’  She carried a plastic bag for the purpose.

Oven-cooked fish and chips sustained us for the evening.