Friday, 20 January 2012

Hope and the Tree of Heaven

I am soooooo tired. Not even three weeks into the New Year and so far I've done Cardiff, Gloucester, Northamptonshire, Forest Hill, Lewisham, Camberwell, Brighton, Northamptonshire (again), Islington and most of Central London.

Just driven the lovely lady Harri (@HarriKay - follow, that's an order) home to Northants, off to Gloucester tomorrow (err - later today), and already contemplating Edinburgh in a couple of weeks.

But what a few days it's been.

My second trip to London this month involved a truly inspiring lady (and talented photographer) who has just returned to mainland Europe after working in Armenia for a couple of years. Looking forward to linking to her blog soon, where you'll be able to see some of her snaps (yes Kirstin, they will get to see them - start working on it! :) ).

I haven't had much time to stop and think, but so far this year seems to be one for seeing people 'out of context' - if that makes any sense? People I haven't seen in a long time, in places I wouldn't expect to see them. :JR: in a casino, Phil in Brighton, Kirstin in London - it's a little strange, but it's giving me the sense that anything is possible. Borders are slipping, boundaries blurring - where might I end up myself?

As well as walking the South Bank and visiting the Globe with Kirstin, other highlights this week have included:

Co-pilot Percy Rabbit reclining in Islington comfort.
Aunty Heron's home-made bread pudding.
The Islington Angel.

The 'Spontanious City in the Tree of Heaven':

Spontaneous City has been designed for the Tree of Heaven in Duncan Terrace Gardens. Made from a collection of over 300 specially-made wooden bird boxes it will provide shelter, nesting and feeding space for birds, bees, insects and other wildlife that occupy the gardens...Part of the Secret Garden Project.

I do believe I squealed with delight. They've built an equally impressive 'Spontanious City' for the local children, too:

Islington's uber-impressive adventure playground.
(There's even a fire pit!)
Islington Canal.
Captain Jack Tarot!
Book Barge!
(click to enlarge)
The above absolutely made my day. I'd like to be reincarnated as a Book Barge cat, curled up in front of the wood-burning stove, perusing the books and the people coming to buy them. I had enough change in my pocket for one book, and not much time to choose it, so I now have a copy of Kent Haruf's Plainsong. Sounds like it might be a little bit of a heartbreaker - look forward to reporting back.

Headed up to Netley Learning Centre in Camden, to check out the work they do and the work Heron does there. Really great stuff in the community and in the field of adult learning. Plus a gorgeous mosaic outside:

Netley Learning Centre Mosaic

Popped by their affiliated site, Richard Cobden Primary School en route to Camden Market.

Camden Shop Fronts

Actually shed a tear, surrounded by incense and patchwork tops. Reminded me of my yoof. Came within a hair's breadth of running into the piercing studios shouting 'perforate me!' Managed to come to terms with myself in InSpiral with a hazelnut cream latte and a chocolate chip cookie. Gorgeous little cafĂ© overlooking the canal. 

Plus, did lunch with Harri in an awesome place on Old Street called Look Mum No Hands! If you're into cycling and amazing salads, this is the place for you. Very good food. Lots of bikes.

Swung past Leather Lane Market.

Hats and ties? Ties and hats?
Died and gone to heaven?
Lamb and halloumi?
Apparently so.
It was all rounded off perfectly with Zuba snoggles. For those not in the know, that's the compound noun for a 'snog' (kiss) plus a snuggle (cuddle) = snoggling. And Zuba ('Sun'/'Sunshine') is the beautiful bouncy new baby of my wonderful friends Jo & Pierre. Bath time with Jo & Marion's rather rusty rendition of Hush-a-by-baby and Jambo Bwana.

Harri and I made it home by around 10:30. Just in time for last orders up the Ward Arms

Absolutely knackered, but very happy, and in possession of some beautiful friends.

Snoggle on!

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