Day Out in Central London
The weather looking threatening, C. abandoned her plan to sell on Herne Hill market today, instead opting to do some reconnaissance on Jubilee Market in Covent Garden.
After a sluggish start (after yesterday’s exertions in Kent) and some good chipolatas from the local butcher we walked down to Lordship Lane to board the 176 towards Tottenham Court Road.
I’m impressed by how the kids have taken to buses. I’m not sure I would have known what to do with a bus at their age. I suppose this is one of the benefits we signed up to by moving to London: city kids. They have developed a hierarchy of seating positions: up top in front being prime; up top in back being decent; anything on the lower deck much inferior, but there’s some fun to be had in occupying the long back seat. I don’t know how their ranking came about, but I have a similar understanding of the relative value of bus seats.
We took a long bus trip (about 45 minutes), which was only occasionally interesting to me (Camberwell Green), but mostly pretty involving for D. and O. (who looked out the window the whole way). O. has his sea legs for buses now - he’s not so alarmed when the bus starts moving while he’s walking along it - he grabs whatever he needs to balance himself. I’m not sure what A. thinks about during bus trips, but there’s certainly plenty to see shuttling through South London.
Arriving at The Strand we alighted for Covent Garden, which is just north of there. On this bank holiday Sunday the outdoor terraces of the restaurants ringing the old market were packed. Inside there was a string trio playing and dancing the can can. Oddly enough I have an old memory of a coffee shop on Aldwich Circle facing India House, perhaps from a trip to London when I was a student. I remember everything being much sootier back then. Central London these days looks pretty clean.
Jubilee Market was interesting for C.. It’s not clear it’s a great market for her. On the positive side there’s plenty of traffic. On the other side, most of it is tourists, and I’m not sure how much they want to buy beautiful things vs souvenirs. There were other people selling crafts.
Having had enough of buses we opted to walk along the Thames to London Bridge so that we could take the fast train to Forest Hill. Crossing Waterloo bridge was a bit scary, with so much tumultuous brown water eddying far below. The walk along the South Bank was delightful, though. We came across fire jugglers, soap bubble makers (of particular delight to D. and O., who chased the myriad bubbles West with the wind, some popping on their faces), a saxophonist, and a tuba player (who we didn’t stop to listen to ). We popped into the Tate Modern and were impressed by the scale of the main hall.
Further on we paused at the Golden Hinde. Surely it isn’t the original ship (it isn’t), but up close the wooden construction of it was imposing. Much bigger than I would have thought, and with a very sophisticated rounded hull shape.
Shortly after that is “the Clink” from which we get the slang term for prison. I’d always assumed it was onomatopoeic, and maybe it was, but here is the actual verifiable Clink.
We arrived at London Bridge in time for a fast train home to Forest Hill.