Tigger has an extra day off today, so we decided to use it productively. Well, you know us!
So we took the 214 to St Pancras station and went upstairs to the Camden Food Co‘s cafe there. Not only do they serve good food and coffee but they also accept the BiTE card, which gives you 20% off the cost. Our plan was to breakfast on their “fruits of the forest” porridge which we have already enjoyed twice. Unfortunately, they had run out of fruits of the forest (astonishingly, they told me it was not their most popular version and that they didn’t make much of it) and so we had porridge and honey instead, washed down with coffee.
We then walked to Kings Cross which, as you probably know, is next door to St Pancras and took a bus back to the Angel, where we transferred to the 56. At this point, I had no idea where we were going, though the destination of the bus offered a clue: Whipps Cross!
Depending on your point of view, you may think of Whipps Cross as a hospital or as an open space or park with a lake. The latter is quite a nice place to go on a sunny day but today was not sunny. In fact, it was dull and threatening rain. We therefore decided to move on but stopped first at Lamb’s Cafe. You probably know by now that I am a fan of British cafes and this one is a good example of the genre.
And so we came to Stratford. It would take quite a while to explore this often maligned area of London. Like most parts of the Metropolis, it is a bewildering mixture of the old and new, where history rubs shoulders with crass modernity and cultural diversity keeps a high profile.
We entered Stratford Town Hall, and admired the entrance hall, so we asked the clerk at reception if we were allowed to take photos. He obviously didn’t know what to say to this and waffled a bit but finally said yes. So we took a few photos of what, though not the most magnificent town hall we have photographed, nonetheless has its own particular charm.
Keir Hardie watched proceedings from the corner.
Among other treasures, we found the Kind Edward VII, a 19th century listed pub. We also had a look at the public library.
Opened in 2000, this library seems to be well used, as there were a lot of people reading and studying, some of them perhaps students from the local college.
We now thought about lunch as it was some time since we had enjoyed our honey porridge. In Theatre Square, which contains the Theatre Royal and the Picture House cinema, there is Stratford Circus which, as well as being a centre for the arts and entertainment, has a rather nice cafe-restaurant where we had a very good meal.
We also had a look around this indoor market attached to the Stratford Centre. I like to see these smaller shops surviving alongside the big businesses and often offering better prices and service.
We bussed back through Bow, Whitechapel, Aldgate and the City. Although I took photos on the way (breaking my usual injunction against taking photos through the windows of moving vehicles), none are really presentable. So I will burden you with only two. The first shows the ever-growing Heron Tower which seems neck-craningly taller every time I see it.
The second shows the Angel end of the City Road. This is the home straight for us when we return from the city. The cupola of the beautiful corner building currently occupied by the Co-operative Bank, which glows golden in the sunlight, is like a beacon welcoming us home. (Sorry it’s blurred but it was taken through glass from a moving bus.)