What a glorious day! The sun shone, it wasn't cold and I, being freelance / unemployed, didn't have to go to work. What a treat! Armed with my new book, purchased from Foyles at One New Change last weekend, my trusty camera and a slight naughty feeling like I was bunking school, I trotted out into the sunlight for an adventure. I think when the sky is blue and the sun is out, most places look like nice places to be, and this was certainly true of my dear old E8 today. Some of the houses round here looked super and I wished I had a million pounds so I could buy one. Although if I had a million pounds I might prefer somewhere that was sunny every day, not just 3 times a year. Anyway, since an army, ie me, marches on its stomach I began my journey with a pit stop at Wiltons for a Mocha and a bacon with rocket bap. Ooh la la.
Next I walked past Hackney Town Hall and the Hackney Empire. The Town Hall is somewhere I have looked into as a possible place to get married since they have a registrar but the jury is still out on this idea. The Empire on the other hand is definitely somewhere I would recommend to go to. They have loads of different types of performances on throughout the year and the most beautiful interior, also Griff Rhys Jones and Alan Sugar love it so so should you! I have seen christmas pantomimes here and a very moving play about the Elephant Man. It really does cater for all tastes.
Then I walked along past St Augustines Tower. This is all that remains of an early 16th Century church that stood in Hackney, so its pretty damn old! Apparently, in 1667 Samuel Pepys visited the old church while looking at the local schools. (I love Wikipedia for little facts like this). During Open House in September you can go inside it although I haven't done that yet. I've only been in the Lord Mayors Helmet by the Thames during Open House.
Then I walked through the churchyard behind the tower which is always a traumatic experience. Not because its dangerous but because it is the site of the brazen and shocking boob grope of 2005. A traumatic flash back if ever there was one. Whilst cycling through this churchyard back in 2005, a cyclist, coming the other way, groped my boob as he rode past! Dirty rat. I remember telling my brother when it happened and he was more interested in how it was logistically possible to grope someone while riding a bike than any distress that may have been caused to me. Thankfully no one invaded my personal space today though and I was able to walk through un-violated.
At the other end of the churchyard, you will find (if you come to Hackney), Sutton House. Which is closed on Mondays. . . yay . . . . Anyway, Sutton House is a National Trust property which has a tiny shop and a small cafe. More importantly though is it is a Grade II listed Tudor building which was built by one of Henry VIII's Courtiers. Its a very lovely place to pop your nose into if you like Oak Panels and history. At Christmas they have a little antique fair here which is rather interesting.
Next, I walked up past St John in Hackney Church which sometimes has wino type people outside it but I didn't see any today. I don't know much about this place since I am not a church goer but it looked lovely in the sun today.
And that was pretty much all to see in E8, so I hopped on the overland train from Hackney Central to Richmond. The journey should take about 40 mins but took 3 hours today. Lucky old me. Before I got to Richmond (at 3:30pm, after boarding the train at 12:30pm. . . ) the train spat me out at West Hampstead. Which at first was extremely annoying but turned out to be quite fortuitous. I popped into a charity shop while I waited for the on going train to Richmond and found a very tarnished, silver (I think/hope) Edwardian Coffee pot 'ensemble' for £15! It was very much like the pot that my dad used to own but has long since vanished. So I've brought them home and polished them up a treat. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with them but I'll worry about that another day.
I eventually reached my destination and was a bit knackered by this point, so went and sat by the river, watched the birds, finished my book and had a lemonade. All in all, one of my best days of 2011 so far. Freedom and spontaneity felt good today.