We have begun to collect rose petals for confetti for Danni and Andy’s wedding next year. Last night Jackie researched methods of drying them, and began experimenting. So far it is a toss up between the microwave, and leaving them to crisp on kitchen roll. The problem with the microwave is timing. Anyone who has a dodgy toaster will know the extremes between under- and over- cooking that can be experienced.
My contribution to the garden maintenance today was a bout of weeding and another raking the gravel on the back drive. Among Jackie’s planting and other activities, she found time to front her shed with a kick board and a strip of gravel. Where was the gravel to be obtained? From the back drive. When? Just as I stood admiring my bowling green level shingle.
I helped a bit with the project, then got the rake out again.
In between my spells in the garden I scanned another dozen slides from my Streets of London series, all produced in April 2004.
I will begin with one shot that I can’t quite locate, and does not legitimately belong in the series, because the street sign is illegible. I have a feeling it is in the developed area near The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. Maybe someone will recognise it. (On 21st July, Geoff Austin sent me this information in an e-mail: ‘Is the building opposite a restaurant? There’s something that looks as if it might be a menu on the wall. I ‘googled’ Teca, and found there was a Teca Restaurant in Brooks Mews W.1, some years ago but it seems to be closed now.’)
Whilst a young woman surveys an antiques shop window, an older gentleman avails himself of modern technology.
Glass on another scale, fronts so many newer, taller, buildings throughout London.
A massive structure on Euston Road offers a reflection of the Post Office Tower. When the tower was opened, by Harold Wilson, on 8th November 1965, it was, until 1980, the tallest building in the United Kingdom.
Still a major communications hub, the tower was officially opened to the public on 16 May 1966 by MP Tony Benn, and holiday camp entrepreneur Billy Butlin, who was to open an ill-fated enterprise. In addition to the communications equipment and office space, there were viewing galleries, a souvenir shop, and a rotating restaurant, the “Top of the Tower”, on the 34th floor. It made one revolution every 22 minutes.
A bomb, responsibility for which was claimed by the Provisional IRA, exploded in the roof of the men’s toilets at the restaurant on 31 October 1971. This eating place has never re-opened.
Sometimes, the glass-sided buildings can offer confusing information. Eleven years on, studying this print of Luxborough Street, W1, I thought I must have printed it in reverse.
Other windows hold different attractions. Ann Summers, Wikipedia tells us, ‘is a British multinational retailer company specialising in sex toys and lingerie, with over 140 high street stores in the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and Spain. In 2000, Ann Summers acquired the Knickerbox brand, a label with an emphasis on more comfortable and feminine underwear, while the Ann Summers-labelled products tend to be more erotic in style. The chain had an annual turnover of £117.3 million in 2007-2008.’
Naturally, there is one in Soho’s Wardour Street. I wonder what the smiling woman thought I was doing.
Most gentlemen looked the other way, while one woman examined the hem-lines displayed in Bruton Street.
A book shop in Dean Street was undergoing a face-lift.
Another stands at the corner of Brewer Street near the entrance to Raymond’s Revue Bar, which closed later that year. A signed 1951 photograph of the Festival of Erotica’s proprietor features in https://derrickjknight.com/2014/04/12/the-three-scrubbers/
New plantings of London planes were to be seen in
and on the corner of Warren Street.
Bronze statues of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Sir Winston Churchill sit conversing on a bench in Mayfair, where Old Bond Street meets New Bond Street. Called ‘Allies’ this artwork was a gift from the Bond Street Association (the shops and businesses of Bond Street) to the City of Westminster to commemorate 50 years of peace. Lawrence Holofcener, a sculptor with dual nationality created this landmark which was unveiled by Princess Margaret on 2 May 1995.
The flower seller at the corner of Clifford Street has a less comfortable perch. This must have been one of the very rare occasions on which I have passed this spot when no tourist was posing between the great wartime leaders.
For this evening’s dinner, Jackie created a delicious new dish she termed Downton Hotpot. This consisted of lean minced beef baked with a topping of sliced potatoes and a later addition of peppers and onions. Cabbage, cauliflower, and carrots completed the menu. I drank more of the merlot, while Jackie quaffed her beloved Belgian Hoegaarden beer.
P.S. My friend, Michael Watts, made this comment on Facebook: ‘Derrick I thought you might like to know that ‘The Post Office Tower ‘ restaurant is opening on the 25th July for two weeks, to celebrate 50 years of communications. Entree is by ballot, which unfortunately I have missed !!
Be interesting to know if it still has the same decor.’