K-Town Circular-110126

Yesterday strolled out to Islington for mineral water and syllabub. Caught the very moment the digger on the opposite bank crunched through a lead lined grave.

“Geezer, come and look at this!” It was a blow up Queen Boudica. “I’ll be damned if she ain’t just where Wm Stukeley said she would be.”

I put away my monocular, zipped my little man back into my Paramo whose unique nikwax analogy fabric mimics mammal fur to keep me comfortable in all weathers and thought of  69 Things to do with a Dead Princess.More

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Archway-101223

Enjoyed Julian Temple’s film about Ray Davies yesterday. Every shot was both illuminating of its subject and  a sort of hymn to North London. I kept thinking we could have filmed it ourselves – it was like our own biography (and of course n million others). We’ve got a couple of years on the Muswell Hillbilly boy though – that is if you take his claim to have been born in 1964  – the year You Really Got Me propelled the Kinks to the pop top table – seriously.… More

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Highgate-101217

Another dull crime scene photo this week from Friday morning, the first day of the second cold snap. And not exactly what you would call a walk either unless you count the slither up to Tufnell Park station (and back from K-Town) after brief stops at Highgate and Archway libraries.

When I say crime scene I’m not talking about non-payment of library fines, no, Sir. Nor f*ing shunting accidents on Lady Somerset Road. I’m talking about the serial killer who dumped a stiffy here in the woods next to Highgate tube  – but not without being seen: middle-aged, tall, greying hair.… More

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Woodside Park-Mill Hill East-101209

If it wasn’t so easy to post I would have given up this week. My mind is exploding in a hissy fit of petulance and self disgust. My pram is soiled and there are toys strewn everywhere. My office looks like Parliament Square or the inside of the Royal Daimler after a day of student protests or a night on the piss. I’ve started writing three books in the last * years (I’m too embarrassed to write the figure) and none of them so much as hint at being workable.… More

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Richmond-Kew-101201

Another twighlight expedition on Wednesday. Travel chaos to the south and east but the London Overground was circling the icy abyss from the high ground and we made Richmond in half an hour from Gospel Oak. Surprised to find little in the way of snow but it was cold enough to put most sensible people off the Thames towpath which we had more or less to ourselves and a couple of cold-looking herons. Big congregation of rooks on the Old Deer Park and a long line of them at the tide’s edge foraging for the Christmas menu, a starter of mussels tout simple followed by worm-in-the-hole.… More

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Highgate-Alexandra Palace-101124

Submerged Forests

To Highgate library at the start of the cold snap on Wednesday to pick up Submerged Forests (1913) by Clement Reid, the Godfather of North Sea archaeology. (See last week’s blog.)

The weather was brighter than I was: an Edward Thomas kind of a day – clean and clear and sweet and cold – but I had just been to K-Town police station to report our car having been bashed. It was parked and the driver drove off without leaving his details but not without being seen by a witness who took down his reg details and left her phone number under the windscreen wiper.… More

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Anglesey-101114

This picture of sea holly (Eryngium maritimum) was taken on the dunes at Traeth Cymyran right by the perimeter fence of RAF Valley which was in the news the following day for reasons of no concern to this blog’s vegetable republic. The tuber roots of sea holly were once eaten (they’re now protected) regarded as an aphrodisiac and  mentioned by Falstaff  in Shakespeare’s romcom, The Merry Wives of Windsor. ‘Nuff said. To be fair my republican sympathies probably wouldn’t survive being stuck on an ice sheet up Snowdon or being swept out into Cymran Bay as the tide rips round Holy Island/Ynys Gybi  sending unwary grockles (and mardy bloggers) into the Irish Sea.… More

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K-Town Circular-101110

This week I have mostly been reading: From Russia With Love. I was not sure that I had read any Bond  so it was fascinating to go back to the original text for the world’s most famous spy bar none. Literary antecedents, Bulldog Drummond and John Buchan’s Richard Hannay,obviously, but also Graham Greene’s Third Man (which gets a name check) and Stamboul Train and Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. The train on which 007 fights for his life (and that of the free world) in an alpine tunnel is as much a literary salon as  a heritage transport experience.… More

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K-Town Circular-101103

My copy of Lights Out For The Territory is now so well pawed that it’s shedding leaves like autumn trees. Which is perhaps why, walking up Dartmouth Park Hill past the Whittington, with the great dome of St Joe’s looming, I suddenly thought I was walking up a collapsed pillar of gold. It had been standing in Tufnell Park but a hurricane had blown it down, the slope of the northern heights had cradled its fall, and now it provided a royal carpet for truants and loafers, dowsers and dreamers – and people with more sensible reasons for ascending to the lip of the basin in the milky autumn light and looking back to the pillars of mammon in the city’s sclerotic heart.
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Benfleet-Southend-101027

Blistering Barnacles. I nearly got away with it. A clean escape from the fog of guilt and grief and doubt that is the writer’s daily bread, this one at any rate. I could breathe at last, before me the estuary spread out at my feet  – a clear corridor through twin banks of cloud over Kent and Essex. Above cirrus rippling like a stone dropped into a pond. My unchained mind following the ripples out across the salt marsh and creek and tiny craft and slow gliding ships and power station chimneys.… More

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