New Year 2011

Not as satisfying to type as 2010 – but sure it will be a good year if it continues as it started!

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I caught the tube up to Highgate to pick up the car and move it before the traffic wardens were about – and Phil walked up to meet me in Waterlow Park. It was still a bit misty – but if you look very carefully to the middle right of the picture – you can just see the Shard.

We wandered through the park – then spent the money to go into Highgate cemetery – the new side as the old was closed until Summer apart from weekends.

We liked one inscription in which the husband was said to be ‘loved by all’ – but the wife was only ‘loved by many’ – so not quite as popular! There were some sad stones as well, where a space had been left for someone else – but no inscription followed.

We braved the smell in the Flask – which still smelt of fish – and the only seat was downstairs in a cramped room – so we just stayed for one drink and carried on up to the Gatehouse for lunch again.

Phil wanted to go for a walk on Hampstead Heath so we walked past some extremely expensive looking houses and past these allotments.

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The houses on the other side were like a little village in the middle of nowhere – there was a footpath at the end of the lane they were on leading onto the heath.

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It was very muddy!

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We walked as far as Kenwood House – but by then we were both on our last legs – and all I really wanted to do was to flop into bed.December 2010 083

We half decided to go home – but then Dan rang to say that Cynthia wasn’t very well, so we drove up to see her and meet the new puppy.

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We went round to see Mary as well, her son Michael was there too, with his partner and daughter – so it was good to meet them.

By the time we got to Tim’s we felt a bit more rested – so changed into the Drudge equivalent of evening dress and danced the night away!

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Highgate to the Hundred Club

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.

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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.

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Over the Archway Road and past Edward Scissorhands new shop – and then past a selection of Highgate Houses – all complete with tasteful wreaths.

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This one even had a bird perched on it – so well trained it kept perfectly still.

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Bit misty – so the promised view over London was more ghostly than the walk.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Saw a skeleton peering wistfully towards Highgate cemetery.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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Past this magnificent stone eagle and back on to ArchwayRoad and Whittingtons cat. (and hospital and two pubs)

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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.

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Didn’t dare cross the road for a closer look in case the gowns turned out to be crimplene.

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Oh, to be able to park..

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GPO Tower looking like a UFO. (Should that be ‘AN’ UFO?)

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Rich people going into Langhams – one day…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Wilko and his manic stare. (would be a good name for a small pet)

Review from the next nights gig.

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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.

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Just to end on a note of absolute tastelessness. I am thinking of getting them for Phil.