City farm and street art in the making

Saturday, October 29th 2016

As we had not been to Cafe Renoir in Kentish Town for a while, we decided to go there today. We have been there many times before (see, for example, A stroll around Kentish Town). Today it seemed different and I wonder whether it is under new management. We were a little disappointed and may not go back for a while.

Autumn tree in Kentish Town
Autumn tree in Kentish Town

Afterwards we set out on a ramble around the area without any fixed plan. Our attention was caught by this beautiful street tree, gloriously dressed in autumn colours. I don’t know what tree it is. Is it perhaps a maple?

Old warehouse. Now residential?
Old warehouse. Now residential?

I liked this old warehouse in Spring Place. It has a look of dependable solidity and is not unlovely. I know nothing about it but suspect it dates from the Victorian or Edwardian periods. It still has a hoist beside a loading door but the bell buttons beside the leftmost front door suggest that it has been converted for residential use.

A spider and its web
A spider and its web

On the corner of Arctic Street, Tigger was in time to stop me blundering into a residence of a different kind. A large spider had created a web about three feet in diameter  and there were supporting threads stretching across the pavement to a road sign. The spider was motionless in the centre of the web. The threads were very fine and the spider seemed suspended in mid air. Spiders must have a hard time finding food in winter but the size of this one suggests it is a very successful individual so perhaps it will survive.

Squirrels: unaware or teasing?
Squirrels: unaware or teasing?

In Cressfield Close we witnessed a stand-off between a cat and some squirrels. Did the squirrels know the cat was there, waiting to pounce and were teasing him, or were they unaware of his presence? I suspect the former and that they were having some fun at his expense. There were three squirrels in the tree though you can see only two in the photo, one where the tree divides and another, posed head-down on the left of the trunk. It was this one that later came down the tree onto the ground and sat up as though completely unaware of the cat. The cat pounced but the squirrel was far too quick and disappeared into nearby bushes, leaving the cat frustrated.

Goats, Kentish Town City Farm
Goats, Kentish Town City Farm

We next paid a visit to the Kentish Town City Farm. How do you define a city farm? It’s difficult because each one is different. They are not commercial and unashamedly ask visitors for voluntary contributions. They provide the public, and particularly children, with the opportunity of seeing farm animals and poultry and also allow volunteers to work on the farm and care for the inmates.

Majestically asleep
Majestically asleep

I particularly like goats and we spent some time beside this enclosure. The goat in the picture is asleep but maintains his dignity so well that I can only describe him as being ‘majestically asleep’.

Photo opportunity
Photo opportunity
Photo by Tigger

Tigger took this picture of me engaging in a photographic tête à tête with one of the goats.

The goat in question
The goat in question

City farm animals are of course well used to people and not nervous of them. Depending on individual character, they either ignore us or approach us to see if there is anything on offer. There are notices warning us not to feed the animals but, of course, some people do and, as a result, some of the animals will respond hoping for a snack.

More goats or are they sheep?
More goats or are they sheep?

I’m not sure whether these are sheep or goats. With their black and white fleece they are attractive and unusual. City farms do often keep breeds that you would not expect to find on commercial farms. (Update 12/11/2016: see WOL’s comment that these are Jacob sheep.)

Sad or thoughtful?
Sad or thoughtful?

This one contemplated me with an expression of thoughtful sadness, rather like that of a dog that has been told off and is hoping for a reconciliation with its owner. I felt like giving it a hug and saying ‘There, there’ but notices warn you not to touch the animals. In any case, it would probably find contact with me alarming rather than comforting!

They also serve who only stand and wait
They also serve who only stand and wait

There are several areas in which plants of various kinds are grown. This was, I think, the largest of the gardens and it was watched over by three scarecrows. Whether they actually scared any of the crows, I am unsure.

The cow
The cow

A farm without a cow is like a carriage with a horse – or something like that. Anyway, this farm has a cow, a handsome black one. The fact that it was recumbent rather than standing up suggested to Tigger that we should expect rain though how accurate bovine weather forecasting is, I do not know.

The pig
The pig

A close neighbour of the cow is the pig. He or she was having a lie-in and so we could only admire him or her from a distance. Pigs intrigue me because of the closeness of their genetic relationship with humans. The evolutionary relationship between pigs and primates has been known for a long time but more evidence of this has emerged recently (e.g. see Pigs and humans share more genetic similarities than previously believed). Perhaps our subconscious recognition of this relationship lies behind stories such as the myth of Circe and George Orwell’s Animal Farm (Summary here).

Insect hotel
Insect hotel

I was glad to see that the smaller members of the community had not been forgotten. ‘Insect hotels’, large and small and of various designs, are increasingly common in parks and gardens and other places such as city farms. If this is a sign of increasing awareness that insects are essential to the environment and not just nuisances to be swatted then it is to be welcomed.

Asleep standing up
Asleep standing up

We reached the end of the farm and turned back. As we passed the goat enclosure again, I saw that one of the goats had jumped up onto a plank suspended between two concrete blocks and had fallen asleep… standing up!

Champion the horse
Champion the horse

This is one of the horses on the farm, apparently called Champion (perhaps in reference to Gene Autry’s Champion the Wonder Horse). Above him sits one of the pigeons that seem quite at home on the farm.

The farmyard boss
The farmyard boss

In the farmyard were ducks and chickens of various breeds. This magnificent white cockerel strode among them in a very dignified manner, obviously considering himself the boss of the farmyard.

Market stall in front of the library
Market stall in front of the library

After visiting the city farm, we made our way towards Camden Town. On the way we passed along Queen’s Crescent where I photographed this market stall in front of the public library.

Queen's Crescent Market
Queen’s Crescent Market

Queen’s Crescent Market is one of London’s oldest street markets though it’s not as famous as some. It takes place of Thursdays and Saturdays and a wide range of goods, including food and household items, was on display.

Dank (Dan Kitchener) at work
Dank (Dan Kitchener) at work

In Camden Town, a happy surprise awaited us. At the Chalk Farm Road end of Hartland Road we found one of our favourite street artists at work. Dank (Dan Kitchener) was working on a large painting which he had sketched out with white line drawings. It was an opportunity to see an artist working on the early stages of a painting. After a few words with Dan, we left him to continue his work, intending to go back soon to see the completed painting another day.

Copyright © 2016 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
This entry was posted in Out and About and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to City farm and street art in the making

  1. Anna says:

    That red tree is stunning, great photos on here x 😊

  2. WOL says:

    Your black and white spotted livestock are Jacob sheep, indeed a rare breed. If you will forgive the indelicacy of the evidence, the lack of teats on the pig suggest it is a boar. I hope you are able to go back and photograph “Dank’s” latest work. He has an excellent grasp of perspective, and I like his bright bold colors.

Genuine comments are welcome. Spam and comments with commercial URLs will be deleted.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s