it’s a beautiful day in the neighbourhood…

By amy ~ January 11th, 2021 @ 3:08 pm

After a week of settling back into a vaguely normal routine, and buoyed by my ever-relentless desire to look on the bright side, not that anybody with underfloor heating is going to have a tough time doing that (and speaking of which I should admit that – as befits my thrifty nature – I have also found that it’s very good for drying clothes; bonus!) I have pretty much given up on receiving useful enquiries and am reverting as of now to my previous Regular And Returnees Only stance. And not many of those.

Instead I’m taking advantage of the post-New Year quiet to do more exploring, and I have selfishly enjoyed having the City’s tiny streets and passages virtually all to myself (even if mostly for the purposes of catching Pokémons and getting in on a few battles while doing so); whilst sitting down for a read of the paper on the steps of St Paul’s or reclining on the grass in the (closed) fancy hotel gardens up the road is less appealing in January, the extra free time to get out and about in the fresh air is always a pleasure. Especially when the sun is out, the tourists are somewhere else and the traffic is down to barely a trickle.

I have read a lot of blue plaques, googled a lot of churches and street names, and generally availed myself of the stuff that’s right on my doorstep, not least London Bridge itself. Spurred on by a programme on Channel 5 of all places, I have learned that not only is it the oldest bridge in London, it was the only bridge across the Thames for seventeen centuries, with houses, shops and even a Keeper Of The Heads to look after the reality TV of the day – the boiled and pitch-dipped heads of traitorous folks on their spikes to remind everybody of what happens to, well, traitorous folks (only the highfalutin’ ones, mind. I’m not clear on what happened to the pleb traitors).

There is a model of the whole thing in St Magnus-the-Martyr a couple of streets away where the original bridge would have ended, which is now well ahead on my list of Things To Visit the next time the opportunity arises. I could of course go to Mass for the first time in about fifteen years, but I think they’re mostly doing it on Facebook at the moment and nothing on God’s earth will have me signing up for that (or Twatter, or any of the rest of them while there is still drying paint in the world). Next weeks’ installment is about Tower Bridge and I will definitely be watching, having had planned visits at the local residents rate of £1 a ticket (bring your council tax bill) scuppered not once now, but twice.

By contrast, last weeks’ special treat was a walk up to the giant Sainsbury’s at Whitechapel, a behemoth amongst supermarkets whose fresh herb offering alone is enough to induce a state of euphoria just this side of panic, a little like a middle aged version of the nights out thirty years or so ago but without the drugs, glowsticks and (thank God) the obligatory gurning cunt in a felt jesters hat hanging around everywhere you looked – given that I still own and wear voluminous cargo trousers, a dozen or so pairs of different coloured gazelles and even a slip dress or two, the only other real difference is the setting not being a disused warehouse or a field. I even still have most of the records (I promise faithfully never to inflict Poing by Rotterdam Termination Source on others).

After buying as much I could carry including coriander, fenugreek and cardamom pods for curry cooking, an improbably huge sweet potato and a big pack of pickled onion Monster Munch (if I’m not going to be working it matters not if the flat and I stink), I arrived back at HQ realising that I had forgotten to call in for dark chocolate Bounty bars when I passed the shop. I’ll just have to go back next week.

So as above, it’s a bit of a closed shop again – sorry! I’ll keep updating with pictures of my groceries and meanwhile in the spirit of nostalgia, Song Of The Week is a slightly more accessible 1990 classic. I promised, after all.

More soon! Since I’ve covered availability, local history and culture, I think it’s time for some potato butchery and a bit of a dance…

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