Floating Leaves


Today the skies were overcast and leaking drizzle. Jackie continued planting and weeding this morning, and I transported compost to fill the hole left by the ficus Aaron had removed yesterday.

This afternoon I scanned the next dozen colour slides from my Streets of London series, produced in September 2004.

Inglebert Street EC1 9.04

‘There is something timeless about the appeal of an authentic rock and roll pub, where the floor sticks to one’s battered old boots and the whiskey-flavoured tang of a hundred past nights of recklessness is tangible in the air. Such places are hard to come by, for the swagger of tarnished glamour is not something that can be easily imitated. Filthy MacNasty’s on the corner of Amwell Street near Angel is one such place. Attracting weekend rock stars from all walks of life, with the lingering aura of countless cigarette breaths, Filthy’s was once home to a mad, mixed bunch of poets and dustmen, philosophers and gardeners. Its gritty credentials include a delightfully dishevelled list of clientele, including Shane McGowan, Irvine Welsh, Johnny Depp and of course Peter Doherty, who tended the bar here in the early days of The Libertines.

 Known for serving ‘the second best Guinness in London’, Filthy’s is something of a cultural landmark. Its cracked leather seats and low-lit tables have played host to photography exhibitions and to impromptu Pete and Carl sing-alongs. Former NME journalist and author Paolo Hewitt used to organise literary nights under the title ‘The Sharper Word’, which saw the likes of Chris Difford of Squeeze and Ian McLagan of Small Faces, as well as political poet John Sinclair dropping by to do readings and play a few songs to the unsuspecting crowd, securing the pub’s spot in musical and literary history.

The pub is certainly ingrained in the blood stained pages of Doherty’s infamous Books of Albion, and The Libertines played many characteristic guerrilla-style gigs here, as well as serving as a place for Pete to sleep when he had nowhere else to go. In the height of Libertines furor, Filthy’s hosted an exhibition of the band’s gig posters, and girls would flock to the bar asking to see the walls of Doherty’s old bedroom upstairs.’

So wrote Jessica Andrews on the londonist in June 2013 when this establishment on the corner of Inglebert Street, EC1 was about to be closed and replaced by a gastropub.

River Street EC1

Contemporary with Doherty’s band, Oasis advertises on the boarded up window of the empty Village Buttery on nearby River Street.

Lloyd Baker Street WC1 9.04

Crossing Amwell Street from there we come to Lloyd Baker Street, where Jessica, Michael, and I lived in 1974/5. This street,

Lloyd Square WC1 9.04

Lloyd Square,

Granville Street WC1 9.04

and Granville Street are all parts of the listed Lloyd Baker Estate. The latter is now overshadowed by developments in

Kings Cross Road WC1 9.04

 Kings Cross Road, opposite The Union Tavern, a splendid Victorian pub on the corner shared with Lloyd Baker Street.

Calthorpe Street WC1 9.04

Crossing Kings Cross Road at this point we reach Calthorpe Street WC.

Neal's Yard WC2 9.04

From Lloyd Baker Street we had moved on to live in Horse and Dolphin Yard in Soho. Neal’s Yard, then just forming part of the Covent Garden developments, is, according to Wikipedia, ‘a small alley in London’s Covent Garden between Shorts Gardens and Monmouth Street which opens into a courtyard. It is named after the 17th century developer, Thomas Neale.[1] It now contains several health food cafes and values driven retailers such as Neal’s Yard Remedies, Neal’s Yard Dairy, Casanova & daughters and Wild Food Cafe.[2][3]

Horse and Dolphin Yard was a tiny mews off Macclesfield Street which linked Gerard Street and

Shaftesbury Avenue W1 9.04

Shaftesbury Avenue. The eponymous theatre is shown in this shot. The car driver didn’t comment on my activity.

Regent's Canal 9.04
Floating leaves and seeds

Regent’s Canal is not exactly a street of London, but I have run or walked many miles along this stretch, so it seems appropriate that a couple of slides of this slipped into the collection.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla, where food and service was as excellent and friendly as ever. My choice was lamb achari and special fried rice; Jackie’s was chicken shashlick, salad, and vegetable curry. We both drank Kingfisher. The restaurant took delivery of a new range of food heaters yesterday, and presented us with two of the older ones which will come in very useful.



Early this morning an engineer came to fix our Kenwood dishwasher. Apart from a minor gap in its intelligence, there was nothing wrong with it. The problem was a kink in the pipe letting out the water. The machine didn’t know how to tell us this, so it informed us that there was some loose wiring and we should unplug it and call in an expert. After what was probably the man’s easiest job of the day, Jackie drove us to Christchurch in search of a small lawnmower. We reconnoitred both Stewarts and B & Q. As is was pensioners 10% discount day at the DIY centre, they won. We bought a small Bosch model. On the way back my lady dropped me in New Milton where I deposited a jacket at Johnson’s cleaners, and walked back via Ashley.

On this day of sunshine and showers I was hit by a deluge in Lower Ashley Road.

As raindrops formed expanding circles in the pavement pools a group of road menders gleefully continued their work in the refreshing downpour.
By the time I was walking along Christchurch Road the rain had stopped and the sun shone. Jackie had stopped off at Tesco’s for some shopping, and passed me. I did not decline her offer of a lift, and squelched into the car.

Our vine path sparkled in the sunlight.
This afternoon I delved into my slide boxes in order to produce another in my posterity series of photographs. When, on 16th March last year, I first wrote about our time at The Peel Institute I had reproduced a photograph of myself with a bunch of roses I had just picked from the garden that was taken by Jessica on Christmas Day 1974, I could not find the slide and used a rather poor copy of the picture. Here is today’s scanned version:

We had moved into the building in Lloyd Baker Street in August of that year.

A children’s playgroup could then be seen in the garden, and in

May 1975, Jessica was reflected in the window of the youth club. We learned later that the second husband of Jessica’s Aunt Elspeth had previously taken parties of boys from the club to climb Snowdon from the cottage in which we were staying when the photograph featured on 7th July was taken.

In August 1974 I photographed a sunset over the St Pancras skyline which is now changed beyond all recognition.
This evening’s dinner consisted of Jackie’s superb sausage casserole (recipe), mashed potato, and crisp Brussels sprouts and carrots, followed by choux buns. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Rawnsley Estate red wine.