For breakfast today we went to a cafe where we used to go every Sunday until the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted our lives and brought about new patterns of behaviour.
Pret A Manger, Angel Central
I refer to the branch of Pret A Manger (no accents, please, we’re British) in the Angel Central shopping centre. There was a strange feeling of familiarity as we trundled the shopping trolley there today.
Fine dining, Pret style
We ordered our trademark coffee and croissants which were tastefully served in paper bags. (Though I joke about it, I find this reasonable as it saves washing up and reduces the risk of person-to-person infection.)
On our way there, we passed by the Sunday Farmers’ Market and…
Fruit stall, Chapel Market
…went through the main Chapel Market. Neither was very busy, perhaps because of the rainy weather.
Tailbacks in Pentonville Road
After lunch, we bravely went out again, despite the unpleasant wet conditions. We first went to a bus stop in Pentonville Road but there was a long gap between buses and quite a crowd had gathered. We knew that the bus, when it eventually turned up, would be full, and the crowd would congest it even further. So we baled out and…
Waiting for a bus in St John Street
…went round to St John Street. Here, far fewer people were waiting and the buses were almost empty.
Aboard the 38
We boarded a number 38 bus and undertook the longish journey to Victoria, the neighbourhood around the railway station of that name. Why? Well, among other thoughts was that the station itself provided an undercover venue of interest and, in the event of heavy rain, we could stay there rather than walking the wet streets.
The bus station at Victoria
The 38 bus stops in the bus station which is just in front of the station, handy indeed for our purposes.
As London’s railway stations go, Victoria, though not the most beautiful (that title probably goes to St Pancras), is quite fine in its way. It is really a double station (the picture shows only one part), whose parts were built in 1860 and 1862, respectively.
Out in the streets of Victoria
It wasn’t raining too heavily, so we set out to walk a little.
Streets shiny with rain
We walked through streets shiny with rain and were probably becoming shiny with rain ourselves!
Westminster Catholic Cathedral
We passed in front of the Westminster Catholic Cathedral (opened 1903) with its almost preposterously tall tower.
Westminster Council Staff Memorial
You might think on seeing this creation that it was intended as a modern-style work of art. In fact, it is a memorial to Westminster City Council Staff who lost their lives in the 1914-18 war. I can at least say of it that it is rather different from the general run of war memorials.
The Curzon Cinema
Tigger was looking for somewhere to have coffee and, having drawn a blank or two, made decidedly for the Curzon Cinema. She knew that this one, like most these days, had a cafe.
In the Curzon Cinema cafe
We found a nice little table with two comfortable armchairs, from which I took the above view.
Cafe and ticket office
Photo by Tigger
The cafe counter also doubles as the cinema’s ticket office, which, after all, makes sense.
Coffee and cake
Photo by Tigger
We ordered coffee and cake – well, we needed something cheering on such a dull, wet day!
One of my favourite objects here is the beautiful miniature clock tower, popularly known as “Little Ben” as it resembles the more famous Big Ben on the Houses of Parliament. (Yes, I know that “Big Ben” theoretically refers to the bell, not to the clock, but by now the whole world calls the clock Big Ben and only tetchy pedants object to this.) Little Ben was first set up in 1892, was removed in 1964 and restored in 1981. Removed again in 2012, it made its triumphal reappearance in 2016. Let’s hope it is now here to stay. (More information here.)
Back to Victoria Station
We now returned to Victoria Station and entered by the part originally built first for the Southern Railway.
Upper shopping area
We went up the escalator to the shopping area and had a look around. As nothing much caught our fancy, we…
Down the scalator
…went down the escalator and exited to the bus station.
Aboard the 38
Here we boarded a number 38 bus for home.
Sadly, the weekend is now drawing to a close (weekends are much too short!) but we at least have the evening ahead of us and will make the most of it.