I’ll Give You A Clue


Today the sun slunk back behind the newly whitewashed ceiling from which occasional leaks did spring.

In July 2005 the weather was finer, so I took a trip back there in the form of scanning another dozen colour slides of the Streets of London series.

Sandwich Street WC1 7.05

Unless they’ve relocated to much grander property in Wisconsin, Double K’s Snack Bar in the aptly named Sandwich Street WC1 is probably no longer trading.

Havelock Street N1 7.05

The mural on this corner of the Lewis Carroll Library in Islington’s Havelock Street has not escaped the attentions of a graffiti spray can. Its premises in Copenhagen Street N1 currently appear to be rather more splendid. This is a popular educational resource for children and adults.

Freeling Street N1

A palette and bags of building materials in Freeling Street serve as a seat for a worker taking a break for refreshments and phone conversation.

Chapel Market/Penton Street N1 7.05

A typical London corner shop stands on this corner of Chapel Market and Penton Street.

At the close of the 18th century townhouses with rear gardens were built along what was then Chapel Street, when it formed the eastern boundary of the new suburb of Pentonville. A fire engine house was erected in 1792 and heightened in 1822; it survives today but in poor condition.

http://hidden-london.com/gazetteer/chapel-market/ gives us this information about the market:

‘The essayist Charles Lamb lived at two addresses in Chapel Street in the late 1790s.

To the annoyance of the well-heeled residents, costermongers began to sell their wares along the street during the 19th century and by the 1860s a fully-fledged and relatively reputable market was in operation. Official designation as a street market came in 1879.

Chapel Market in March 2014*

Three years later John James Sainsbury opened his first Islington store at 48 Chapel Street, managed for a while by his eldest son, John Benjamin. The venture was so successful that the Sainsburys opened three more shops in the street, including their first branch specialising in poultry and game.

By the 1890s Chapel Street had one of the two largest markets in the Clerkenwell and Islington areas, divided roughly equally between food and non-food stalls. Furniture, earthenware, second-hand clothing and drapery were among the most popular merchandise. The council renamed the street Chapel Market in 1936.

A few mainstream retailers and fast food outlets now occupy premises towards the eastern end of the street but for the most part this remains a traditional and unpretentious market, selling mainly household goods and food. It is open every day except Monday. Despite its continuing popularity, Chapel Market is vulnerable to a future change of use owing to the high value of land in Islington.’

The Victorian Royal Free Hospital began life as The London Fever Hospital. By the 1990s this redundant facility was redeveloped for varying types of residential accommodation. http://www.locallocalhistory.co.uk/islington/royalfree/ has much interesting history on this site, modern manifestations of which include

Old Royal Free Square N1 7.05

Old Royal Free Square N1

Southwood Smith Street N1 7.05

and Southwood Smith Street N1

Battishill Street N1 7.05

London’s feral pigeons are ubiquitous. Here a trio dice with death near a corner of Battishill Street.

Kember Street N1 7.05

I do hope the driver of this Urgent Courier in Kember Street had managed to deliver his package before his van was clamped.

Bernard Street WC1 7.05

The gentleman on the balcony in Bernard Street WC1 appears to have scaled great heights in search of a mobile phone signal.

Victoria Street SW1 7.05

Now, can you spot Louisa and Errol outside the Victoria Palace Theatre?

Victoria Street SW1 7.05

I’ll give you a clue. The woman in white conversing on her mobile stands beside them when the traffic crossing figure is green. It becomes red while she approaches me, still apparently engrossed in the screen.

Victoria Street SW1 7.05

These three shots were all taken from outside an Indian restaurant where the three of us had enjoyed a pre-theatre meal before seeing the show, aptly described on the board as ‘The Greatest British Musical I’ve Ever Seen’.

Once more, by late afternoon, the sun shone from a gently clouded blue sky.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb sausage casserole and mashed potato flecked with carrot. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Barossa Valley Shiraz 2016.

Modelling Daphne’s Dress


My 75th birthday was very pleasurable. Matthew, Tess, and Poppy woke up here in the morning, and Shelley and Ron,  Becky and Ian visited in the afternoon. We all sat in the garden after lunch.

Poppy 1Poppy 2

The first present I opened was from Poppy, who had chosen it. A certain amount of self-interest was rapidly confirmed.

Mat and Tess 1

Our granddaughter provided her parents with their own party hats.

Poppy 3Poppy 4Tess and Poppy 3

Matthew obligingly assembled a colourful bird house that Louisa and Errol had sent me. Poppy saw it as a handbag and commandeered it for a tour of the garden she undertook with Tess;

Poppy and poppy

she was intrigued to be introduced to one of her floral namesakes,

Tess and Poppy 1

and to many other blooms,

Tess and Poppy 2

with some of which she picked and adorned herself.

Kitchen Bed

This was one view of the Kitchen Bed,

Garden view across Margery's Bed

and another seen across Margery’s Bed, each containing

Day lilies 1Day lilies 2

a number of day lilies, some of which Jackie dug up for Tess along with several other plants.

Garden view from Heligan Path bench

This scene is beyond the Heligan Path bench.

New Zealand flax

Being a Kiwi, Tess was able to describe exactly how to propagate New Zealand flax, and to explain the haka.

Pigeons on roof 1Pigeons on roof 2Pigeons on roof 3Pigeons on roof 4Pigeons on roof 5

The reason for this was that I understand that this war dance also represents other events such as courtship, and I had no idea whether the capers of the pigeons on our roof represented war or love.

Poppy 5Poppy 6Poppy 7

Becky brought over a beautifully hand stitched and embroidered dress that her niece Poppy had left behind at her home. Poppy couldn’t wait to strip off and model it. This treasured possession had been made by Tess’s friend, Daphne Harris.

This evening, except for Shelly and Ron who had left earlier, we are all going to dine at Lal Quilla. Regular readers will understand that that means I will enjoy a hot curry and drink Kingfisher, and at the end of the meal will be past caring what anyone else consumed. Should anything out of the ordinary occur, I will report on that tomorrow.

Natural Monochrome


Anyone having followed the broadband connection saga will no doubt share my delight in the fact that this morning I uploaded the ten following pictures in five minutes. Until James Peacock flew in to the rescue any one image would take far longer than that.

The Needles foghorn reverberated around Downton this morning, as sea mist combined with low sun to produce beautiful monochrome garden scenes. Silent pigeons in the trees were unfazed by this.

Misty trees

The final picture is of Christchurch Road, showing the murky driving conditions.

Incidentally, peacocks can fly, albeit no great distance.

Throughout the day, Jackie worked on the Christmas decorations. She finished the tree, but this is only the start of the festooning. In the last of these photographs I chose to focus on the reflected image of our wedding photograph from 1968 lit by Giles’s stained glass lamp.

This evening we dined on Carbonara pasta topped with bacon and served with broccoli and cauliflower florets. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Collin-Bourriset Fleurie 2015.

Lunch On The Green


Before we leave for New Milton for my London lunch trips, Jackie always asks me if I’ve got ‘all (my) bits’ with me. One was missing this morning. It was my mobile phone. A search among all the usual places revealed nothing. Jackie rang the number several times. Silence ensued. We then tried the car. A muffled ring-tone suggested that the device was under one of the seats. It wasn’t. Eventually I spotted it lodged between the front seats. On its side. Barely visible, and needing great dexterity to remove it from its hiding place.

I set back the meeting time with Norman at Tas in The Cut, and caught a later train.

Waterloo Millennium Green 1

This still gave me time to investigate Waterloo Millennium Green, where people enjoyed a lunch break in the sun and,

Waterloo Millennium Green 2

Waterloo Millenium Green 3Waterloo Millenium Green 4

a month earlier, I had seen scaffolding being erected. The huge temporary Old Vic stage had been completely dismantled and removed, leaving the dried grass to members of the basking public


Waterloo Millenium Green 5Waterloo Millenium Green 5

and pigeons.

It was after I took this last shot that a woman, whom I had not photographed, screamed at me and called me a pervert, and I decided to show a little discretion and walk away.

Norman and I enjoyed good conversation and lunch. My choice of main course was the best battered halibut I have ever tasted, followed by a excellent cold rice pudding, the name of which escapes me. As usual, we shared a bottle of the house red wine, served at the perfect temperature.

Especially when I take the slightly later train home, I tend to sit in the quiet carriage and avoid groups of businessmen. For those who are unaware, this carriage is one where passengers are not permitted to use mobile phones and must quieten other electronic quiet carriage, devices. This doesn’t deter everyone from talking at the tops of their voices.

Shortly before we were due to depart a gentleman rushed into the seat opposite me, spreading various items of luggage across the table. He then proceeded to have, interspersed with mouthfuls of salad-spilling burger, a work conversation at the top of his voice.

I gave him five minutes, which, in the circumstances I thought rather generous, and certainly more than some of the protagonists in the Dick Francis novel I was trying to read would have allowed. Not wishing actually to interrupt his flow, either of talk, or bits of burger, I tapped on the table and pointed to the signs, one of which was above his head. He shrugged and continued. An interruption became necessary. ‘You must comply with this’, I said, ‘that is why we sit in here’. So sotto voce as to be barely audible, he continued his conversation. When he had finished he apologised and politely called me sir.

Jackie collected me at New Milton and drove me home where, this evening, I needed no further sustenance.

Early Morning Lovemaking


Now, please don’t get too excited. It’s birds I’m referring to. Pigeons, to be precise.

Pigeons 1

Pigeons 2

I am no good at sexing birds, so I’m not sure which was which in this couple, although I suspect that it was the female who remained aloof whilst her suitor performed on the trapeze.

Pigeons 3

Not greatly impressed, she turned and flew away.  He swivelled on the high wire and set off in pursuit.

Jackie continued her mammoth weeding and planting in the garden.

Bamboo roots

My contribution was digging out bamboo roots that had strayed into the gravel of the Oval Path. This also involved lifting border rocks and replacing them after removing the interlopers. Afterwards I ambled around with watering cans, and, of course, a camera.

Tulips, daffodils a,d pansiesTulips and daffodilsTulip mix

We are daily enjoying new tulips,

Parrot tulips

including these parrots.

Wallflowers 1

We inherited some prolific yellow wallflowers along the back drive.

Wallflowers 2

Encouraged by them Jackie added these beautifully red-veined ones last year,

Erysimum Redjap

and these varicoloured erysimum Red Jeps quite recently.


Another recent planting is mesembryanthemums,

Red maple bed

seen here in situ beyond the russet heuchera.

It was so hot this afternoon that we took cold drinks on the Castle Bench because it was in the shade. There is a little table each side of the seat for drinks. Jackie sat on the right. I sat on the left. She is left-handed. I am right-handed. Work it out. Until she twigged what was going on, we both rested our glasses in the middle of the bench. Then we swapped positions, and there was nothing between us.

This evening we dine on Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole, carrots, cauliflower, and new potatoes. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the fleurie.

Wiltshire And The West End

Steady rain fell most of the day, so I scanned some more colour slides for posterity. The more observant readers will note that I have converted three to black and white images.

Matthew and Becky, Candles 19.12.79

19th December 1979 was Matthew’s eleventh birthday. Being the generous soul he is, he allowed Becky to blow out his cake candles. I had to be quick to take this shot because these flickering flames were my only source of light.

Just before Christmas Jessica, Michael and I took a trip to Jessica’s parents in Wiltshire.

Standing Stone 12.79

This standing stone must have been photographed at Avebury,

Jessica and Piper silhouette 12.79

above which Jessica and Piper romped on the hillside.

Matthew and Becky feeding pigeons 12.79

Mat and Becky always enjoyed a trip to Trafalgar Square. In December 1979 you were still welcome to feed the birds with crusts of bread,

George IV equestrian statue

which, like the rooks foraging in the turf beneath our New Forest ponies, tried their luck around the sculptured hoofs of King George IV’s horse.

Jessica and Michael 12.79 2

Lord Nelson’s memorial square is a very short walk from what was our flat in Horse and Dolphin Yard, in the doorway of which beam Jessica and Michael.

This Mews Yard lay off Macclesfield Street, between Gerard Street and Shaftesbury Avenue leading to

Piccadilly Circus 1.80Christmas lights 1.80 1

Piccadilly Circus, photographed in January 1980.

Jackie has abandoned me this evening for a trip to Surrey and a meal with her good friend, Pauline, which they have both been looking forward to. I therefore dined alone on fried eggs, bacon, potatoes, and carrots, with toast. I have never tried the orange vegetables with a fry-up before. They add a certain pleasant piquancy.

A Walk In The Park

Although my virus has definitely improved, it is still taking a while to clear my head, so, when I set out this morning to scan another batch of Elizabeth’s returned prints, I couldn’t face sorting them, so, instead, scanned a group of carefully catalogued colour slides from March 1973.

On a walk in Westminster’s St James’s Park I made some pictures

St James's Park 2

St James's Park 1

of the view looking west from the blue bridge, decades before the London Eye was to dominate the horizon;

St James's Park 3

of briskly striding wrapped-up walkers, with Westminster Abbey in the background;

St James's Park and Pigeons

Pigeons on Branch

and of perching pigeons and other passers-by.

Against the background of the apple tree that featured in Becky’s Book, I photographed

Matthew 1

Matthew 2


Becky 1

Becky 2

and Becky.

This afternoon Helen, Bill, Shelley, and Ron came fro a late lunch which extended into the evening, when we watched the first day’s highlights of the final Oval Test Match.

Jackie offered a choice of excellent meals well up to her usual standard. There was a tender beef casserole, mashed potato and swede, with crisp carrots and green beans; and there was choice chilli con carne with superb savoury rice. I enjoyed small portions of each. Desserts were lemon tart, profiteroles, and forest fruits strudel. We could take our picks. Assorted red and white wines were imbibed.

Australia, finishing on 287 for 3, had a better day in the cricket.