Friday, April 13th 2012
Friday evening is always a special time as it stands between the working week that has just ended and the weekend with all its promise.
Leaving Borough, there are several buses we can take to start us on our way home or, possibly, to somewhere else. This evening, we boarded the 35 which goes to Liverpool Street station. I thought we had taken this bus by chance but realized on arrival in Bishopsgate that it was no accident.
“Do you fancy having supper our?” asked Tigger, and I of course agreed. I also realized where we were going and why we had caught the 35.
From the bus stop near the station we walked across to Brushfield Street which gives you a fine view of Christ Church making a pretty sight, lit by evening sunlight. Described as one of Nicholas Hawksmore’s masterpieces, Christ Church Spitalfields was designed in 1714 and built under the Fifty New Churches Act of 1711. Alterations were made in the 19th century, including modifications to the spire, and the church fell into a state of disrepair during the 20th century, finally being rescued and refurbished when funding became available in the 1990s.
In the square between Brushfield Street and Spitalfields Market we found fauna lurking. This is where we saw the sculpture called “I Goat” (see Not the best day to go to Clacton and City lights). There are also white rabbits, a group by Paul Cox and apparently called “Spitalfields Spirit”, though how they are supposed to express that is beyond me. Normally I like rabbits but for some reason find these slightly sinister.
Here we encountered a water feature, consisting of a shallow rectangular basin filled with water. There were no plants growing in it as far as I could see but it had attracted three ducks, a pair and a single male. It was good to see living fauna among the pretend animals.
The pair of duck straightaway came paddling over to see if we had food to give them. I expect they are often fed by office workers especially at lunch time. I notice that it’s usually the female that takes the initiative in begging for food. The males in general are more cautious and hang back, as here, but the females come to you without fear. (Perhaps they are better judges of character!)
The lone male showed no interest in us. He was happily dabbling about in the water, apparently finding food, though I couldn’t see what it was.
In fact, he was so busy snatching food from the bottom that it was hard to catch him with his head up and many of my photos came out like the one above!
There was one more art work to see before we went off to eat. Looking like one of those cut-out greetings cards but made of sheet steel, this piece by Eleonora Aguiari (2005) bears a name that fits it to a tee: “Church.” When the name fits the work, you can’t help wondering whether the artist was having an off-day. You can find more information on these Spitalfields art works here.
For supper we went to Canteen, which has become one of our favourite places for a meal and was the reason why we caught the 35. They have a daily two-course menu that is cheaper than à la carte and which always has vegetarian options on it. Our waiter (at extreme right above) was a cheerful and pleasant young man and our seat near the kitchen gave us plenty to watch.
Outside, in the market, all the stalls were lit with lamps, something I had not seen before. Each stall had several lamps, making a brilliant display. I hoped to get a better shot later on and took this “saver” in the meantime. Unfortunately, by the time we had finished our meal, all the stalls had closed and the lamps were switched off.
We caught a bus from Bishopsgate to the Old Street roundabout on City Road, and there took another bus to the Angel. The crossroads there is dominated by this big, domed terra cotta building which appeared quite startling in the twilight with lamps illuminating the façade. It is the Leysian Mission, built in the early 1900s. It was intended to provide services and a mission to the East End poor and was founded by members of the Leysian school in Cambridge. It is a listed building and you will find some historical information here. Times have changed and it now serves other purposes, being occupied by a nightclub, a Starbuck’s coffee bar and a shop, among other businesses.
1. A “saver” is what I call a quick snap taken to make sure you get at least something though intending to get a better one later. Sometimes the “saver” is all you get…