21 July, 2013

Curiosity in South Norwood. A site specific installation.

The South Norwood cemetery was full of quarrels - I heard at least two pairs of people quarrelling! I wasn't there though to eavesdrop on whether X really was a nasty piece of work or not I was here for Curiosity, a series of installations in the cemetery. There are 21 installations altogether including one in a mausoleum and an extra informal one of some lads working on community payback. Some of the installations were good and some were indifferent. The Flower theatre by Jane Brockbank in the greek section of the cemetery was a pleasant little experience. Others were difficult to find - I didn't see no 10, and others were frankly bizarre in particular listening to the dead at no 16 where you put two electrodes connected to a set of headphones into the earth. THe best was the grave of Sir Henry Bessemer which had been covered to show liquid, solids and gasses. Illustrated above. All in all a rather bizarre experience on a strange day. As everyone else is going on about red posts - I will too!

20 July, 2013


A brief visit to Nunhead, which is the better end of Peckham, although that's not saying much. There are alms houses - live and let live in Nunhead Green. There is also a bulletproof library (presumably the little boys throw stones at the windows) with this rather artistic bench outside. Everyone should read indeed!

17 July, 2013

Cart Marking 2013, or, After the Lord Mayor's show comes the dust cart.

The Annual cart marking ceremony is a special occasion in the City. The Lord Mayor gets to pretend to have lunch with a load of lorry drivers and lots of city gents and gentesses pretend to be lorry drivers and have lunch with the Lord Mayor. Hat tip to Ian visits for the heads up. The whole thing seemed to be presided over by Boss Hogg. The ceremony dates back- oh ever so long and involves members of the Worshipful Company of Carmen paying 25p to have the master brand some heritage vehicles with a letter authorising them to ply for business within the City boundary. Before the ceremony starts the Glover's company, motto True hearts and warm hands, presents the car people with heatproof gloves so thet their hands do not get too warm when handling a branding iron. There is a video of the ceremony on Youtube There was quite a parade of vehicles, begining with london taxis from the 1930s and today, there were also some wonderful army lorries and monster artics showing thoroughly the history of road transport. I finished my wanderings round the City by calling in to see the Goldsmith's company exhibition of jewellery, but no pictures are allowed of the Goldsmith's palatial hall.

13 July, 2013

Horley- Defence of the Realm

Rural Gatwick on a day off work. A hot and sunny one for a change. I decided to do a circular walk along part of the Millennium Trail, promoted by Reigate and Banstead Borough Council.  There was nothing much to see as the old houses and barns pointed out were all locked away behind high fences and locked gates, none of them remarkable and few wrought iron in this prosperous conifer County of Surrey.

The historical articles I did see related to the last war where gun emplacements were constructed in lines to keep out an invasion that would have been unlikely.  Farmers were paid to remove these emplacements at the conclusion of the hostilities but most just packeted the money.
Therefore we find some of these old relics popping up in the most unexpected places.  Some may be used for storage but others are just left to rot.  The ones on this walk were fairly pretty in their decayed brick Other than these things the walk was not much good. There was nowhere to make a natural pause and the refreshments were only available right at the start and right at the end - a local shop with little stock.

02 July, 2013

'Appy 'ampstead

Sunshine on Hampstead Heath - and a ride on a Boris Bus. After a stroll on the heath I went back into Hampstead for some refreshment and walked past Marie Stopes's former house. It looked like it was quite big for someone heavily into birth control but I suppose she had the last of the servants that birth control would eventually cause to die out. Marie Stopes is not the only famous resident and I saw a brief glimpse of somebody who looked like Dame Judi Dench (or was it Glenda Jackson) and somebody who looked like Terry Pratchett. After a look into Keats House Library, abandoned by the Borough of Camden and taken over by a committee of trustees, it was back to the heath again for a little bit of sunbathing - not too much though. I passed the former Public Baths and Wash House on the way which made me reflect that perhaps Hampstead hasn't always been the well heeled district we know today. The Heath really is a marvellous open space preserved by the London County Council.