20 September 2013

i spy


The end of summer came up us all too quickly, before I had even had time to tell of the wonderful times we had when the sun was shining and cotton frocks were de rigueur for staying cool. But there are stories still to be told, beginning with the wonderful windy, rainy weather today in Peckham with my old friend and local guide, Mr B.

All praise to the glorious Overground that takes us beyond Surrey Docks (as was, Quays as is) to Peckham Rye. And what riches Peckham offers over and above the now ├▒defunct Higgins and Jones department store of my childhood. We started at Frank's Cafe at the top of a largely uninhabited car park, up the mildly pissy stairwells, then the ramps and ridged concrete floors housing installations, to the breezy top floor, exposed to the south westerly winds and rain, the slapping of ribbons, and spectacular views across London. At the rooftop cafe we ate  corn and bacon chowder, creamy and sharp (creme fraiche, celeriac and whey the cook said), all this with the wind blowing fiercely and thwacking against the hefty plastic ribbons holding down the protective tarp. Mr B said it was like being on the deck of a ship, and he was right. Except there was a garden too.


Back on dry - well, dampish - land, we took the tour around the streets of Peckham. Green suburban roads; the South London Gallery; the London Wildlife Trust Centre for Wildlife gardening that was closed because of shortage of staff; the Peckham Library, choc a bloc with people, and a view down the line of the filled-in Surrey Canal reaching past the allotments; fish and boiling fowl, plantain and peppers; and an  even more extensive choice of bargain-price nail bars than we have around here - a waste of money on me,  but the idea of once, just once, having sparkly nails, albeit on crooked fingers, was tempting.

The richness of re-explored territory, a new perspective on a rainy day - totally exhilarating.

More tales to come.

11 comments:

monix said...

You make what appears to be a miserable day in mundane surroundings seem magical! I would love to expplore London with you as my guide.

colleen said...

Ah, Maureen, it really was rather magical, the kind of magic that happens when you take the time to walk and look, in new places or spaces that have changed since you last visited them. I arrived home equally tired and fully refreshed.

rachel said...

Wish you'd had this day out before I went to Peckham Rye recently! Not like my experience at all! We did go past the markets though, with so many interesting things that we struggled to identify, and all the jazzy nail bars. I was tempted by the latter too.

Annie @ knitsofacto said...

You make Peckham sound positively exotic! I'm not quite sure I'm wishing I was there, but it's close :)

rusty duck said...

Amazing that anything can survive up there. The verbena (?) looks better than mine.

Val , Kate, The Cute Kitten ,Razzy, Kepsey,Darwin ,Charon and Echo. said...

It sounds good fun and description of the the wind on the tarp evoked seaside memories... it seems I must get out more as I was most puzzled by "nail bars" until I read further ..can I confess I was holding images of iron mongery in my head ...sad I know :0)

tut-tut said...

Frank's has got to be an experience like no other, out there under that red tarp. Thanks for all the linking . . .

tut-tut said...

btw, I post more frequently on Facebook than I do on my blog, under my actual name, sometimes about books that interest me, so if you'd like to 'friend' there, let me know: tuttut.insidetheshell at gmail and I'll send you my name.

Shandy said...

I agree with Monix. Your descriptions of food always make me hungry and your urban expeditions amaze me.

Liz said...

Sounds like a great outing. We're similarly bent here (though our stomping ground is much much smaller) on rediscovering the familiar and appreciating the all too easily overlooked.

60 going on 16 said...

Goodness, what a difference a few decades make . . . I lived in Peckham for a year in the late 1960s. It seemed to me, at the time, to be an unhappy place, full of people who would rather be somewhere, anywhere, else. My small daughter was still being wheeled around in the thirdhand Silver Cross and, each morning, I would put her in her pram and we would walk along Nunhead Lane with the first of our many Labradors, past rundown houses, to Peckham Rye Park and Common. I remember feeling very lonely and, in the days when I had no car and did not drive, very cut off from my family on the north side of, and westwards along, the Thames.

Now, the houses in Nunhead Lane sell for a small fortune, the park and common are newly restored and, from your description, I can see that I would be seduced by the markets and maybe even by the possibility of sparkly nails.

London, constantly reinventing itself.