Meandering by the river

We were in London for the weekend. On Friday night we had our office Christmas Party. It’s become a bit of a tradition at Ben P towers that Christmas Parties are not best held in December, when the last thing anyone needs is another party, but in the bleak dark days of late January or February we could all do with a knees-up. And so it was. Although not the craziest night ever, because one or two of the chief instigators of crazy were sick in bed or on holiday. But still, a lovely evening.

Charlie had a date with a friend in Portobello and it was my turn to take Mavis to the park, which was a lot of fun for both of us, even as rain showers swept across London. Charlie and I went for lunch up in King’s Cross, the sun cleared, and we decided to have a little wander down to something new… The Hunterian Museum, before it is about to close for a while. Charlie had been, but I hadn’t.

Dombey Street glowed in pale sunshine. I’ve always been slightly partial to the council flats next door to the old Georgian terraced houses.

It was a day when I was noticing things that I hadn’t really looked at before. We got fascinated by the tall townhouse on the corner of Lambs Conduit and Dombey Street with ancient net curtains in all the windows. Who lives there, and what is it like?

The brightly coloured shopfront of the Fryer’s Delight caught my eye: the Tastiest Fish & Chops in Town…

Arriving in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, we found this….But on the south side of the square, our destination was the Royal College of Surgeons…. their museum is the Hunterian.

I loved their disabled ramp.

A long queue was growing at the door. Across the square, through the trees, the houses of Lincoln’s Inn Fields glowed.

Eventually, we were inside, and here the blog gets a little disappointing. I took a photograph of the memorial to Lister, but on entering the museum a polite sign asked us to respect their policy of no photography.  Hmm. There goes my ‘new thing for the blog’, we thought.

I took one sneaky snap of a this impressive gentleman….

But to be honest the rest you will have to imagine. Thousands of specimen jars with the most hideous contents, exactly as you would expect of a museum in the College of Surgeons.  My stomach began to churn and I couldn’t wait to get to the fresh air.

The greatest sadness of all was the wartime destruction of the great Victorian Museum:

When war broke out there were just too many contents to consider evacuation. On 11th May, 1941, the building was bombed. The resultant fire was fuelled partly by the alcohol in thousands of preserving jars. Over two-thirds of the collection were destroyed.

Late afternoon sun glowed on the north side of the square.

The facade of the Soane Museum was perfect, as ever.

After tea, we headed to the Brunswick, to watch Jackie. A small pink bicycle was abandoned on the steps.Jackie is one of those films where the cinema was completely silent as the credits rolled. We loved it. And then dinner and a good catch up with an old friend.

This morning, we took Mavis to Regent’s Park again. The air was cold but clear.

But even as we arrived at the park, the sunshine was fading.

Grey mist rolled in. The Post Office tower was suddenly invisible.

Mavis suddenly decided to run around with a bigger stick than usual, which made her look very small.

Fog settled across London.

This afternoon, Bridie was taking us to the River Cafe for William’s birthday lunch. We got out at Hammersmith and went for an explore along the river.

I don’t know enough about this fine classical building right on the roundabout. Can anyone tell me?
But I did find this photo here…. And I wonder if I don’t love it even more then. How London has changed. We can all hardly remember.  What a beautiful photograph, I believe only from 1987.

We reached the river at Hammersmith Bridge.

Some buildings were nicely run down, others were very done up:

This house and garden were close to heaven, a whole lawn of bulbs… and the first daffodils of spring. Have you seen any yet? Edward Johnston, as you all know, designed the typeface of the London Underground.

He lived on Hammersmith Terrace, also home to Emery Walker….

I will treasure the memory of the visit I made to the Emery Walker House, years ago now. It will be exciting to see what happens next here.

I don’t know if everyone will know about the thousands of parrots that are now living in West London, thought to have come from escaped pets. We spied one. So exotic for a grey afternoon on the river.

I spied also an ancient Colefax and Fowler fabric in a window. Quite right.


The back of Hammersmith Terrace, facing the river, is really the front – with windows all aligned, unlike the street facade we saw earlier.

We had a perfect lunch at the River Cafe, and the pale sun slowly settled, and when we emerged the whole of the river was lit up soft pink from the sky.
And London felt quiet, and beautiful, and happy.

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