Phil and I had tickets to go and see Wilko Johnson at the Hundred Club – and had planned to spend the day in London first – but because his cruel and unreasonable wife had made him take a job working for the Queen – he was working all the previous night – so Jill came up instead.
I drove up – chickening out of the tiny car park at the Travelodge I carried on up to Highgate. Slight hiccup at the Blackwall tunnel as we had to edge past a lorry which had gaily satnavved into the height barrier- and didn’t find the camera in time to photograph his humiliation. For the xenophobes amongst you -it was a British lorry – so tough! Drove around Highgate trying to find free parking – but the council had cleverly zoned all the streets with residents only parking between 10 and 12 noon – so in the end gave up and resigned myself to getting up early the next morning.
We had the London Ghost walk book and started the walk outside Peter Sellers former flat – evidently he was guided by the spirit of his mother which resulted in long delays in filming.
Over the Archway Road and past Edward Scissorhands new shop – and then past a selection of Highgate Houses – all complete with tasteful wreaths.
This one even had a bird perched on it – so well trained it kept perfectly still.
Bit misty – so the promised view over London was more ghostly than the walk.
We stopped to choose a house in the estate agent – always a bit unsure about what the comma means – but doubt it is the fifty thousand that we could afford.
Stopped for lunch in the Gatehouse – we had been here before when it was a Wetherspoons. Well, it is still a Wetherspoons – but is now a plain clothes pub. Very nice – and good food.
Just a hop and a skip down the road was the Flask – supposedly one of the most haunted pubs in London. As we had only just come out of one pub, I was a bit doubtful about diving straight into another one – but as Jill said – it would make the rest of the walk more fun. Unfortunately one of the ghosts must have been a fishmonger as the pub stank of fish to such an extent we decided to walk on.
Saw a skeleton peering wistfully towards Highgate cemetery.
According to the book, this is Pond Square – home of the Phantom chicken – a large white bird which drops from the sky and races around in frenzied circles flapping its wings before disappearing. Bit like me getting ready for work.
Now to the raison d’etre of the whole visit – Highgate cemetery and the gates through which a hideous grey face scowls as it’s gnarled fingers grasp the ironwork and it’s sunken eyes are fixed in a grimacing stare as it waits for the next passer by…. (nothing like a bit of purple prose)
We were too tight to pay the three pounds to go into the cemetery as we’d been before and still had a long way to walk – so headed off through Waterlow Park.
Past this magnificent stone eagle and back on to ArchwayRoad and Whittingtons cat. (and hospital and two pubs)
We walked all the way from Highgate to Charing Cross – passing through areas ranging from near slums on the outskirts of Kentish Town to multi millionaires houses in Regents Park.
Didn’t dare cross the road for a closer look in case the gowns turned out to be crimplene.
Oh, to be able to park..
GPO Tower looking like a UFO. (Should that be ‘AN’ UFO?)
Rich people going into Langhams – one day…
Oxford Circus and Regent Street were absolutely packed – we went down a side street to try and get away from the crowds – but it took us straight back – although gave a wonderful view of wrapped buildings. Eat your heart out Christo.
Trafalgar Square was covered in media vans setting up for tomorrow night – but saw the tree – and the fourth plinth ship in a bottle for the first time.
Left Jill at Charing Cross to catch a train home, and staggered along the Strand and up Drury Lane to the Postmans pub near Farringdon to meet Phil – picking up beer and assorted food to eat in the Travelodge on the way. By the time we got to our room I could have quite happily collapsed for the evening – but Wilko was calling – so after a bath hit the road again.
It was a sell out gig, and we didn’t get there until after nine, so my space at the front was packed – could only get about the third row back. If I hadn’t been so tired I would have woven my way through – but got a spot in the middle of a nice bunch of people and stayed where I was. The audience looked as if it had been picked up in a job lot from the 1970s – don’t think that anyone was younger than 50! But we enjoyed ourselves – none more so than Norman the bass player.
Wilko and his manic stare. (would be a good name for a small pet)
Review from the next nights gig.
Back down Oxford Street and the street next to the British Museum whose name I don’t know, but whose hotel windows I always look through wistfully on the way back to the Travelodge.
Also looked wistfully through the windows of an art shop – if I had a huge disposable income I would have a house with an art studio – full of stationery, squirrel hair brushes and those wonderful wooden boxes of crayons and paint. I would never actually use any of them – just go in and gloat at their wonderfulness.
Just to end on a note of absolute tastelessness. I am thinking of getting them for Phil.