1. Returning to Brick Lane…
…and going on about how it’s changed! Yep, I’ve become one of those irritating people who wanders around London, saying, ‘when I was younger this was different, blah, blah, blah…’ I do bang on about how Charing Cross Road used to be straight, and now I’ve discovered that Brick Lane is quiet. I went along with Nat and Jen to see a hilarious Spoken Word performance – which included tea and biscuits – and a bit of interpretative dance, at Rich Mix. We then headed to a bar at the top of Brick Lane that had some good memories of sitting with the windows open, drinking cocktails and watching the hipsters go by. It used to have windows that opened onto the street, huge squashy cushions, lanterns, and be absolutely packed. It’s been cleaned up since then, all smooth and shiny surfaces and grey colour schemes. We walked down the lane to pick up some bagels, and further on, and marvelled that a sunny Friday night didn’t have people spilling out from every bar. We were able to walk down the street without squeezing between groups of friends, queues, or being accosted by multiple people pushing leaflets for tiny club nights – it was tumbleweed central. Where had all the people gone? It felt rather strange – reminding us we’ve got older (or just old!) and moved away, and the exciting places to be out have moved too. It’s probably one of the places I’ve spent most time in London, and it’s been interesting to see it’s evolution, from when the stalls on Brick Lane were people kneeling with a piece of cloth in front of them, piled with their own goods, the Upmarket began as a few independent stalls in the corner of a huge space, that is now full, and the only coffee you could buy was the overly milky instant coffee from the bagel shop, to the coffee shops, huge markets, Subway and shiny bars attended by suits. I did love that rubbish coffee though – Art College gave me a strange taste for a rare cup of the cheapest instant coffee available.
2. Going to a brilliant wedding
I woke up before Mr Story on Saturday morning and took my time drinking my first cup of tea looking forward to the day of Steph and Jorge’s wedding. Later, we headed over to Chelsea Old Town Hall, where Mr Story prepared to organise the music for the ceremony and I waited excitedly, watching friends and relatives arrive from the U.S, Spain and even a few from London! It was an amazing day – there was a gasp in the room when Steph came in with the most beautiful, delicate dress, grinning with her dad. Jorge got a bit choked up during the ceremony. There was a break in the clouds for us to throw confetti over the couple – confetti hand-punched from London A-Z books, we drank Pimm’s and chatted, before arrived at the Bumpkin for lunch. There were photos of the couple and their families strung around the room – some amazing 1950s and 1970s wedding photos and excellent 90s fashion (excellent curtains Jorge!). We ate and drank and were merry. The wine was made especially for the wedding. There were bottles of Earl Grey liqueur and cigars from the Canary Islands (where the groom is from) – a lot of special touches. The speeches made us teary and we danced until we tired, and then we drank tea and played cards with the bride. One of my favourite moments was one of the favours – Dimple and Steph had organised mehndi, so I sat and watched as my hand was painted, and watched as it first developed and then faded this week – my hands are a bit hard-working to hang on to it for long! At the risk of sounding wanky, I really liked a favour that was an experience rather than an object.
My other favourite thing was just how happy and excited Mr Story was about the whole thing. It’s the first time, I believe, that he’s been to the wedding of people he’s really close to and he repeatedly told me how happy and content he was. The next day I cooked roast vegetables scattered with the rosemary that had marked my place at the table. Lovely.
The photos I’ve included are from Mr Story.
3. Walking around London
On Tuesday I had a lot of errands to run in Central London, from the bank to picking up some art materials and packaging pieces. I needed to stretch my legs so I walked over the bridge, to the Strand, up through Covent Garden and to Tottenham Court Road, before heading back down to the Southbank to meet Mr Story for lunch, ticking off errands as I went. I had my podcasts to keep me company and the sun was out, and I love walking the city.
I also popped in to Cath Kidston to see their pattern competition winners. I am not a Cath Kidston person – I don’t own anything from there – but for some reason, the patterns interested me enough to make a small detour and pop in to look at them. They were lovely – a really creative ranges of responses to the brief. I loved the windows based pattern, and the Musicals pattern, for the movement of the dancers.
I met Mr Story, Axe and Nessa for lunch and we chatted, before heading out to sit in the sun with tea and talk further.
Working from home, it’s great when your To-Do list produces a errands that involve walking in the sun.
This summer has involved a lot of animals in my bespoke illustrations, great and small. This week, along with a lot of other things in a bespoke illustration, there were a couple of fluffy hamsters, who are definitely on the small side! Such cuties!