Saturday, 16 September 2017

London housesitting – September 2017

Benjie bird on Jackies shoulder
Another week bites the dust in chilly Dalston. We quickly established our routine with Kasper, explaining that yes he could go out for a wee first thing, but we were then going to have coffee in bed before breakfast. This seems ok, though on a weekend his wee is literally that as he has to go into the garden on his lead to stop him dashing off to kill his Kong and woof at where a squirrel might have been. The neighbours like a lie in on the weekend! 

Kasper protesting that he doesn't want to go home yet
Mad dog jumping up while back door is being opened
Having thoroughly enjoyed our local Ridley Road market, bowls of fruit or veg £1 (though we did get 10 bananas for 50p at the end of the day), or bowls of 6 mackerel £5, we headed off on Saturday to the slightly more upmarket Broadway Market. Very different, actually not much to buy except a huge variety of 'artisan' foodstalls, everything from curry, scotch eggs with for example a haggis coating, cheese, bread, Vietnamese, falafel, rice and beans, slow roast pork, beef rendang and these are just the things that first spring to mind! Last week we shared (we'll it is only lunch) a chicken katsu wrap, battered chicken, veggies, hummus and chilli sauce, yum. This week, my choice was the Hamish Macbeth sandwich: haggis, bacon, cheese, fried onion.... it was good, but sadly not quite as good as it looked!

Relaxing together watching TV
Hackney carnival
We hoped for a repeat of all these food options on Sunday as the Hackney Carnival (a smaller version of the Notting Hill Carnival) was coming past the end of the road, while Ridley Road was going to be sound stages and food stalls. Turned out to be very Caribbean, rice and beans, and fried chicken, and lots of heart pounding bass, so not nearly as exciting as we'd hoped. The procession as it came past however was great, how some of those girls didn't freeze to death I don't know. The atmosphere was lovely, and on occasion laced with illegal substances. But eventually enough was enough and we got home (1 minute away) just before the heavens opened!

Hackney Carnival
The loudest part of the procession. Music was pumping out of the speakers next to that woman in pink so loud that the vibration was punching us in the chest. The crush was unbelievable, good job we were by a lamp post to stop us getting swept along with the crowds. Interesting smells coming from some home rolled cigarettes too!
The Tower of London
Tuesday thought we'd probably better make the effort to go into London so using a mix of overground and underground trains we got to Tower Hill for a perfect view of the Tower of London and to meet our walking tour guide, a very nicely spoken Rachel who took us around the sights of the East of the City of London for a very informative 3 hours. We then had to run, as Kasper never grew out of his puppy hood and still expects lunch! He hadn't faded away. 

A bit of the old 11th century wall originally surrounding the old City of London, that kept William the Conqueror at bay for a few months. To gain entry he offered the citizens special rghts that are still enjoyed today. For example, the Queen cannot enter the old City without permission from the mayor and all her guards must lay down their arms
The old Leadenhall Market, now trendy restaurants and shops
Wednesday we had our first mackerel (enjoyed it so much we are repeating tonight). I've tried to cook local, so we've had a mini meze with dips, Greek salad, olives, halloumi cheese, and prepared meat from the Turkish supermarket. I've made moussaka and now whole mackerel with tomato and pepper.

This small pub sits on the site of an old coffee shop where merchants used to meet to discuss shipping with Mr Lloyd, who went on to form the giant Lloyds of London insurance company
The modern, inside out Lloyds of London building
Thursday we actually went out for lunch to eat Turkish prepared by someone else as we weren't sure how we'd fit dinner in. Just as well we did as our plan didn't quite work, the plan was to walk Kasper to the Hackney Empire and get our tickets for Radio 2's Friday Night is Music Night validated before taking dog home, getting changed and making our way back for our free evening out. The queue at 17.45 was massive, this was the allotted time for validation, before doors opening 18.45 and show starting 19.30. I stood in the queue, while B walked the dog home, fed him and came back, a round trip of half an hour. Fortunately I'd barely moved and they hadn't yet checked our photo ID. I had taken my old BBC ID card as well as my driving license, but on looking at the picture I remembered why I refused to wear it and kept it hidden. They didn't seem impressed. But we did get in! 

Mansion House. Home of the Lord Mayor of the City of London
A thoroughly enjoyable evening, Ken Bruce introducing various guests, like Gloria Hunniford, Albert Hammond and the BBC Concert orchestra doing their thing. It was a special event for Radio 2's 50th birthday, so lots of nostalgia not to mention watching the orchestra playing all sorts of things. It will be broadcast on September 29, but I don't think we did anything to make us noticeable on the radio! A great evening out, free and 15 minutes walk from home! Loved the Hackney Empire and appreciated watching a live orchestra.

The old Royal Exchange. Now a fancy shopping arcade
Yesterday we went back into town, to follow up on two things Rachel had said. You can apply for free tickets to the Sky Garden at the top of the 'Walkie Talkie' building on Fenchurch Street, for a great view over London up and down the Thames. We followed this with a trip to the Bank of England Museum, also very interesting, but he's going to talk about that a bit. We got back to hear about the partially exploded bomb at Parsons Green underground station. It had not impacted us at all, despite being on the same line we travelled on, just makes you feel a bit weird afterwards!

Kasper is a dog of two walks, this morning I could barely reach to press the button at the road crossing, he thought I was going past and not to the park, where he was desperate to get to chase after his two balls, thrown in rotation to avoid having to get him to drop. This afternoon he chose to go in the opposite direction, to the other park I assumed, but no, he wanted to go through the market, well it's Saturday and there may be lots of chicken bones on the floor! I have never seen a dog like him (Helen, Monty has nothing on Kasper) for vacuuming up any bones he comes across. We have both had our hands in his mouth more than once removing chicken bones, toast, all sorts! Benji on the other hand is a bird of simple requirements, fortunately he is happy in his house and shows no wish to leave the house through door or window, open for plant watering. Not like the parrot we saw flying overhead this morning! We'd heard it on many occasions, but this was the first time we'd seen the Hackney parrot.
The Bank of England. Formed in 1694 after the Glorious Revolution in 1688
On the way to St Pauls Cathedral

St Pauls Cathedral. A bit too close to get a good shot

Nice view looking along the Thames at the London Eye, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament

Group shot of our group on the free walking tour. We're on the back row, just to the left

Jackies mackrel and tomato bake
Benjie taking an afternoon nap on top of the door
And now he's awake
Arriving at the Hackney Empire amongst the BBC broadcasting lorries. That'll be a queue over there then!
It went all the way round the building and along there to the entrance
But we got in OK and had pretty good seats in the circle.
Its a lovely old theatre
Back to London and this time to see 20 Fenchurch Street, better known as the Walkie Talkie building. Here it is, you can see how it got its name. When it was first built it was all glass and its curved shape concentrated the suns rays, burning things in its ray. Apparently it melted the interior of a Jaguar car. Those white bits were added later to stop it happening again
Up on the top floor where there's a cafe and superb views over London. The trip up to the 35th floor is free, provided you book in advance on line:
That's a pretty good view from the top! Left is the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, City Hall (the round building), HMS Belfast and on the R the Shard building
A closer view of Tower Bridge and, just to the left, The Tower of London, built by William the Conqueror
Looking out the other way, left is the Leadenhall building, known as The Cheesegrater, right is the St Mary Axe building, known as the Gherkin and under construction to its right will be the building to be known as The Scalpel
Looking the other way down the Thames. The dome of St Pauls Cathedral is right of centre. On the left in the distance is the London Eye and, just to the left of it, hardly visible is Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament
The gardens on the 35th floor of the Walkie Talkie building
In the Bank of England museum. A little device to demonstrate how difficult it is to maintain the governments target of 2% inflation with economic shocks, just by adjusting the bank base interest rate
In that box is a real gold bar, known as a Good Delivery bar. It weighs 400 Troy ounces, approx 28 pounds or 13kg and is almost twice the weight of a similar size piece of lead. Its value is about £390,000.00. You can put your hand in and lift it up - it's very heavy - and you are on CCTV all the time!
This is the Bank Charter that sets out the conditions under which the newly formed Bank of England will operate. It was granted by the joint monarchs William and Mary, whose names appear at the top and became official on 27th July 1694

1 comment:

  1. Would love to go to the B Of E museum! What a lovely time you are having! X