The Pazuki Blog

A Day Out East September 01 2014, 0 Comments

As West Londoners we don’t go east very often and not much further than Brick Lane, so on Sunday we decide to go for a ride on the Docklands Light Railway. We haven’t got any kind of plan – randomly we get out at Canary Wharf, a concrete business citadel with a huge plasma advertising screen and a ribbon strip of Reuter’s news streaming across another wall. Hmmm, back on the train rapidly after a strong coffee in Carluccio’s. 
Past more quays and a great station called Mudchute, all announced in an authentic London accent, unlike South-West trains who have an Audrey Hepburn-ish voice. Let’s try Island Gardens? It sounded rather magical. Well, we didn’t stay long there either, although there were some areas of wild flowers and magnificent rosehips to photograph. 

Island Gardens

“Silvertown”, Tim says, “I think that’s interesting, I read about it in a book once”. Back to Westferry and onto the Woolwich line, we glide along high up like on a big dipper, through vast industrial landscapes – creeks, factories, wasteland, blocks of flats and a massive amount of construction and cranes. “Just like Shanghai”, I declare, never having been there. Past the Tate and Lyle sugar refinery with a giant Golden Syrup tin on the side, gleaming out of the greyness, we both remember childhoods spooning the delicious yellow goo into puddings, now far too sinful.

Cable cars

Travelling on the train seems more fun than getting off, especially as it is now pouring with rain. We turn around at Woolwich and get the train back to Shadwell, to change onto the Overland, but the station is closed. We discover a Bangladeshi food wonderland under the railway arches - huge bunches of herbs, unfamiliar fruit and veg in boxes outside, inside: big bags of fish and prawns and what they call “Cow Meat”. My God they must eat well around here. We bought some okra from a charming man whose English wasn’t good enough to answer my interrogations about the produce, except by saying “vegetable” or “fruit”.

Creek

Fruit and veg
 
Thanks to fantastic app. Citymapper we found a bus to take us to Shoreditch and to the Owl and the Pussycat in Redchurch Street for lunch – for Tim a large sausage with kimchi and me poached eggs on avocado, delicious. Really friendly staff and a lively, colourful young crowd who were getting drinks and then going out to the garden at the back.

The Owl and the Pussycat

The Owl and the Pussycat

Restored, we pop into Dragana Perisic’s shop to say hello and then jostle our way down Brick Lane, I am determined to find the Spitalfield’s City Farm. I met two people who work there last Saturday, at a picnic on Hackney Marshes, an amazing open space area of London I’d never been to before. The sun has come out and we find the farm easily, I can’t believe I never knew it was there, just off Brick Lane. Free entry, you can wander about amongst goats, sheep, geese, small animals, compost heaps, vegetable growing, herbs, wheel-barrows, sheds, greenhouses. The donkeys were cantering around the field having a play fight. I spot Roseanna my new friend who invites me to a chilli festival they are having in September. It’s an amazing community centre, a hive of activity (and bees), that runs all kinds of classes and courses

City Farm

Herbs growing out of wellie's

Watering produce

Donkey in the City

Back on a 26 bus to Waterloo, thanks again Citymapper, and home to Barnes. We feel we’ve broadened our horizons – a day trip to other worlds, as different as getting on a plane and flying to another country. Tim’s high spot of the day is the Bangladeshi food shops, mine is the farm.

Homeward bound over Waterloo Bridge

Pookie xx



Sunday Outing December 07 2013, 1 Comment

We left the safe mono-culture of Barnes in South-West London, (apart from all the Swedish people) and headed East to multi-cultural Shoreditch on the mysterious Overground train that passes though Pekham and other exotic places.

Columbia Road Market

Columbia Road Market

We stride out towards Columbia Road market and the first thing I discover is Dragana Perisic’s shop and a smiling Dragana. Delighted to see each other after years and to see all the very individual well cut clothes and accessories she makes. I’ve been to the Rochelle Canteen a couple of times recently but this is the first time in ages I’ve been to this area on a Sunday and I must have walked straight past before.

Me and Dragana

Me and Dragana

Also in Redchurch Street is Labour and Wait which sells traditional home products. Everything is beautiful and very nostalgic but I find it’s a bit like Muji, I love it all but never buy anything, as I just don’t really need it.

Angela_Flanders_Perfume_Shop

Angela Flanders Perfume Shop

The top of the flower market is a forest of Christmas trees, leading on to a jam packed sea of people with armfuls of berried branches and mistletoe. We squeeze down what feels like a tunnel, behind the stalls along the shop fronts. If it hadn’t been so crowded I would have liked to mooch around more, but Tim was on a coffee mission so I was swept past a blur of shops selling what seemed like very similar vintagey baubles and decorations. I am a bit baubled out after a shopping trip to Petersham Nursery last week and so it wasn’t too hard to resist. But I went against all my dietary restrictions and had the most DELICIOUS smoked salmon and egg beigel with poppy seeds. I vow to come back when it’s less busy, and explore more.

Fabric_Shop

Fabric Shop

Enough of Christmas mania. We wandered through the housing estate down to Brick Lane and I wondered why the balconies and front gardens weren’t all spilling over with plants. There were a few mini jungles but I saw a lot of pots with grass and dandelions in. I like to think if I lived here I’d be out every Sunday buying plants. I did think the council bins outside everyone’s house were inspired though, in bright pink, not the normal blend-in green.

Pink Dustbins

Pink Dustbins

We rested a while in Kahaila Café looking out at the masses of people passing by, trendies, locals, tourists. Brick Lane does still seem to be a true mix of people and cultures and this street more than any in London perhaps has changed with new influxes of refugees, starting with the Huguenots centuries ago who built the beautiful houses around Spitalfields. My ancestors were silk weavers and my surname Blezard is Huguenot so I always feel a kinship when I’m here.

Kahaila Cafe

Kahaila Cafe

There is an unbelievable amount of street food from every country in Brick Lane, which I’d have loved to have tried, maybe someone should organise a tasting tour.

Street Food

Street Food

I buy an oversized mohair jumper in Religion and then we go into Rough Trade who sell only non-mainstream music and a lot on vinyl. Also books like Nick Cave’s lyrics and Suggs’ autobiography, which I don’t think I’ll be reading.

Rough Trade

Rough Trade

Heading back to a mystery treat in Central London we just had time to pop into the Whitechapel Gallery (which is FREE) to see Sarah Lucas’s retrospective which I was surprised I really liked. Seeing all the work together and photos of her made a strong impact and I felt I got it, which when I saw a documentary about her years ago I definitely didn’t. Down the District line at Aldgate East and out at Embankment - I don’t know where we are going.  I’m hoping it might be ice skating but as we walk down St. Martin’s Lane Tim shoves me sideways into the Coliseum, it’s a matinee, the final performance of Madam Butterfly by Puccini, wonderful! I thought I’d missed it. Feel very plainly dressed as quite a few people have chosen to wear, maybe not consciously, Japanese blossom type prints. It’s sold out, not the variety of people in Brick Lane but still a broad selection and all ages. A great performance by Dina Kuznetsova as Cio-Cio-San and stunning lighting, design, costumes. Heart-breaking, gut-wrenching music, I had a good blub, totally falling in love with Butterfly’s child - played by a puppet, brilliantly operated by three puppeteers. Pinkerton, what a cad!

The Coliseum

The Coliseum

Walk over Hungerford Bridge past the coloured lights of the Southbank to Waterloo and back home to Barnes on our usual train. I must say, London is brilliant.

Unto This Last Furniture Shop

Unto This Last Furniture Shop

Princelet_Street

Princelet Street

Street Art

Street Art

Nice Minaret

Nice Minaret

Shoes hanging above the street

Shoes hanging above the street

Labour & Wait

Labour & Wait

I'm not sure what goes on in here but it looked really nice

I'm not sure what goes on in here but it looked really nice

I think tower blocks have great patterns

I think tower blocks have great patterns

Graffiti reflected in mirror windows

Graffiti reflected in mirror windows

Drippy Paint

Drippy Paint

Brick Lane Barber

Brick Lane Barber

Brick Lane

Brick Lane

Pazuki xx