Thursday, 28 May 2015

wheels of fire

I've got so much to tell from the past few days - magical weddings and gigantic ships - but must just quickly add these pics from our happy reunion today - 1976 year of the bike revisited.

And this was 'our song' as we used to pack sandwiches and hurtle out to Parsley Hay
Today we started at the Jug and Glass in Lea
Great feast and lots of banter
chucked out at closing time
and off to Arkwright's Cromford Mill . . .
where we were once again chucked out when the cafe needed to close for the day
Just so much to catch up on - you'll have to make another trip across the pond, John, to get us together again!

and, for a final treat, 'back in the day' in that scorching summer . . . .

Friday, 15 May 2015


So we're now onto Saturday of our amazing London whirlwind.  If you prefer to start from the beginning of the weekend, click here first.


I've always wanted to see the famous cows in Milton Keynes - so it was such a treat to see uprooted ones in the middle of London!!
and into the classy Architectural Association for their brilliant exhibition - "A Clockwork Jerusalem" on the British Modernist movement.

some classic books to leaf through
and a model of one of the Thamesmead blocks - classically featured in the film 'Beautiful Thing'.  Just found a great Thamesmead blog here called Concrete Nostalgia - take a look.
This ancient idea for an early garden city is quite scary - notice all those groups of people placed on the outer edges of society in those days - take a closer look.
So it was a fast shimmy back to the Holburn area and the wonderful London Review of Books with it's equally wonderful cafe, which was so jammed we were offered a take-away picnic in the basement library - which was great fun - all huddled round our fabulous portobello mushroom soups and crusty bread, surrounded by children's books.
puddings had to be taken on the hoof though as time was getting tight!
always loved this shop - but never been in - wonder if they've got any Sheffield's Fox's umbrella frames?
 and coming up for air at Belsize Park - and our first gliimpse of blue skies
to the iconic Isokon flats which have been recently refurbished with a little gallery at the side, showing their fascinating history and their rightful place in history of modernist architecture in London.  There are some great resources and videos on the Isokon Gallery website which will fill you in on their remarkable residents too.
example of a room inside the gallery with the Isokon designed furniture
Then it was a lovely walk through leafy Hampstead, just touching the very edge of the Heath 
and enjoying the rural sun - who'd think this was our capital city!!
and a revisit to Willow Road ....
... for the incredible Ernö Goldfinger house - which we just sneaked into as they were closing - 2 Willow Road
enjoyed the film too in the visitor centre (converted garage!), then it was a wander around more beautiful Hampstead lanes - stopping to admire the odd contemporary house en route of course.
This just didn't feel like London at all - more like a village - quite amazing
and soon we came upon our destination - the fabulous Holly Bush for the most amazing dinner of 'twice cooked' guinea fowl, followed by a sticky toffee pudding with banana ice cream to die for!!!  And we ate it sitting down this time!
I can't praise this pub enough, food fabulous, great service and really friendly - and we even got a long chat with the lovely French chef, keen to hear how we'd enjoyed his fare.
But it wasn't all over yet - on the way to our theatre date we were treated to the stunning Swiss Cottage Library - designed by  Sir Basil Spence
Before our visit to the Hampstead Theatre for Michael Frayn's new play "Matchbox Theatre" which we all thoroughly enjoyed.  (Lovely newish theatre too!)
Then it was final goodbyes at the Overground - by now cold enough for wooly hats!

But all was not over . . .


Final morning in London and our surprise treat - the tastiest Sunday Brunch ever at the very swish Holburn Dining Room

Then final farewells and soon steaming north back to Sheffield.

A totally amazing, happy, wonderful weekend (apart from the election results!!) and, as Johnson famously said, "Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford." 

Well, Samuel, that holds for women too!!

Thank you one and all - we will be back . . . . . .

This old heart

I'm going to attempt to cram our wonderful whirlwind weekend in London into two massive blogposts!  So make a cuppa and relax into that wonder of places that is London in all it's glory.  A surprise round every corner and crammed with fun.  


Early morning vote in Sheffield.

Brilliant concert at the splendid St George's Cathedral in Lambeth, followed by pub election discussions with the orchestra until the exit polls started tumbling in and hopes for a Tory defeat hung by a thread.


Gloomy start, both to the UK post-election and to the London weather.

But rallied round and headed up West, where we happened upon this sign on Margaret Street, at the back of Oxford Street
and drawn by the word 'famous' ventured in - to discover the stunningly decorated All Saints Margaret Street which has Grade 1 listing.
 which you'd never have guessed from the outside
So now a walk over to Portland Place and RIBA for the fascinating Rennie Mackintosh exhibition - with a sneaky coffee and cake in the RIBA cafe and a peruse of the amazing bookshop
Incredible to see Mackintosh's own drawings.  This one being of Hill House in Helensburgh which we'd so enjoyed visiting just a few years ago - built for the publisher Blackie.
and as night fell - it found us at the Camden Blues Kitchen for an amazing gig by the incredible Motor City Review who played one showstopper after another - hit after hit from the Motown catalogue - memories flooding in
and a good place for a pause for some music . . . 

Probably my favourite from those days
oh and another beautiful favourite if you're in the mood

and when you're ready - click here to read on for Saturday and Sunday when the pace really hotted up!