The day was cloudy with a threat of rain, which did not encourage us to venture far afield. We thought it best to stay local.
As usual, we crossed through the square to Amwell Street and the deli.
We sat for a while outside the deli with our coffee, watching the world go by. Though Amwell Street has little to attract outsiders, it is often busy with vehicles and pedestrians using it as a cut-through between main roads.
After our coffee break, we retired to Myddelton Square Gardens where I kept the pigeons busy for Tigger to concentrate on the squirrels. I know two foot-damaged pigeons living in the square and tend to give them extra attention as they find it harder to compete in scrambles for food. They recognise me now and it wasn’t long before this one perched on my knee to take food from my hand.
Tigger also managed to attract some squirrels by wedging nuts in the bark of their trees. Notice the interloper trying to creep up on the feeding squirrel!
Pigeons are understandably nervous of humans and any sudden movement on our part – even the gesture of throwing food – causes them to fly up in alarm. On the other hand, once they have dared to taken food from your hand, they gain confidence and will go on taking it. It takes them longer to dare to perch on your knee or your hand but, again, once they have done so, they will continue.
The hardest part is convincing your pigeon friend that there’s no more food once they’ve eaten it all. Verbally asserting this cuts no ice with a pigeon! You just have to walk away.
Leaving the square and the ever-hungry pigeons, we walked through to St John Street. I remember showing you the long queues at the butcher’s shop during the first lockdown. Lockdown has ended but still there are queues here. This is one thing I don’t have to worry about, happily.
The sun now put in an appearance, making everything look more cheerful. Unfortunately, it was not to last because the sky was thick with cloudsh so that the sun could be seen only occasionally between the gaps.
We went to the bus stop and waited for the 153 to appear. For some reason, this service is rarely on time and you learn to wait, patiently or otherwise.
We travelled on this bus to the Barbican, though we did not enter the Barbican estate itself this time.
The stop where we left the bus is in a tunnel which carries the road, Beech Street, under the Barbican estate. It looks more dramatic than it is in reality.
The Barbican has several cinemas and this building houses Cinemas 2 & 3 but we had not come to see a film. The building also includes a rather nice bar-cafe. We came in search of coffee and cake!
The cafe was empty of customers. Not everybody likes to be in an empty venue, apparently, but that suits me just fine. Tigger is all the crowd I need. We settled in comfy armchairs and enjoyed our coffee and cake in peace.
Afterwards, we continued our walk, starting with another road through a tunnel. It no doubt has a name but I don’t know what it is.
We came out in Whitecross Street where we had a view of one of the tower blocks of the Barbican estate. The Barbican is an early example of post-war Brutalist architecture. (So called because the structures are made of raw, or “brute”, concrete.) I find such buildings ugly and inhuman but, despite not liking the Barbican’s architecture, I have become quite fond of the place and fascinated by it.
Then we followed the leafy Fortune Street.
This led out into Golden Lane, though I cannot say I found anything “golden” about this very ordinary street. The one point of interest was a stand of electric scooters for hire.
I wonder how many deaths and serious injuries there have to be before it is realised that allowing these dangerous contraptions on public roads is a very bad idea. They are currently allowed in use as an experiment but I doubt whether the government will change its mind at the end of the trial period, especially as they have been allowed in other countries of Europe. We wouldn’t want to be seen to be less stupid than our cousins in Europe, would we?
We passed through a housing development called the Golden Lane Estate. I often wonder what it is like to live in one of these. I imagine it depends critically on what your neighbours are like. As Sartre put it, “Hell is other people”, a proposition I carry close to my heart.
At a window high up, we spotted a cat. The reflection of the sky on the glass made it hard to see. He gave us that noncommittal stare that cats are so good at.
We eventually debouched in Goswell Road. I hadn’t had any idea where we were heading though Tigger knew all along. My motto is “Just follow Tigger and all will be well”. It usually works.
This road, incidentally, was known in Elizabethan times and takes its name from a spring, now apparently lost, that was called Godewell, meaning “good well/spring”.
In Goswell Road we waited for a bus to take us back to the Angel. While waiting, I crossed the road to take a photo of a griffin on a pillar. I have mentioned these before. The City of London, also known euphemistically as the Square Mile, is the banking and financial centre of London, famous throughout the world as its tentacles reach to every corner of the globe. On every road entering the City there stands a griffin holding a shield with the City’s coat of arms. When you pass such a griffin, you know you are now in the City of London.
The bus dropped us outside Sainsbury’s and we crossed the car park into Chapel Market as I had a couple of items to buy in Superdrug there. The market was as busy as you would expect on a Saturday though some stallholders were already closing down. I did my shopping and we walked back through the market, heading for home. Tigger, however, spotted a curious sight and took a photo of it.
On the pavement was a mattress, presumably dumped, and on the mattress lay a man, smoking a cigarette and apparently taking his ease. Serendipity in action.