As it is another warm day and promising to be even warmer later on, we decided to go out earlier than usual today. We also went somewhat further than usual, “to get used to it”, as one might say, ahead of the intended general return to work, so far set for June 15th.
If you are keeping tabs on the temperature, it was around 20° C (68° F) when we went out and expected to rise at least another 5 degrees by mid-afternoon.
This was the scene as it appeared from beside the tube station in Islington High Street, with plenty of traffic and pedestrians. In fact, it was almost like a normal weekday before the pandemic.
We walked under the arcade in front of this row of banks and offices as there were fewer people here to dodge.
The little motorized coffee stall was ready for business though the barista didn’t seem very busy.
In Upper Street, in front of the entrance to the Angel Central shopping centre, is an important bus stop where a number of routes meet. Buses, we noticed, still attract relatively few passengers. Will that change on June 15th.?
Reaching Islington Green, we paid our respects to Sir Hugh Myddelton who brought water to London with his New River and also gave his name, unwittingly perhaps, to a number of streets and businesses around his New River Head. What would Sir Hugh make of today’s bustling Angel which, in his day, was a mainly rural area?
This striking building bears a date of 1902 and is an example of the mixture of styles and dates that characterizes this district.
In the park resides the Islington War Memorial, a controversial design known to the less pious as “the Doughnut”. Designed by John Maine, it was unveiled only in 2006, a temporary memorial by Charles Higham having been set up in 1918. Embarrassingly, work had to be done to shore it up in 2013 when the foundations proved to be inadequate and the monument began to sink. The wire outline of a soldeir with his rifle is not part of the monument but has been placed behind it for some reson.
Islington Green is a triangular-shaped park well placed in the centre of things. Apparently, it was never, as its name might suggest, a village green, but the remains of one time common land on which local farmmers had free grazing rights. Most of it was built on and the green remains as a small and pleasant memento of times past.
We entered Camden Passage, a walkway beween pubs, shops and restaurants, once famous for its antiques shops. The era of antiques came to an end when the owners of the old Tram Shed, which until then had housed a number of antiques stalls, decided to evict the antiques vendors and turn the shed over to single occupancy. Since then a number of businesses have occupied it for a while and then left. Perhaps it’s not a good spot for a big store. Either way, the loss of the antiques emporium provoked the gradual disappearance of other antiques shops and their replacement mainly with restaurants and special goods shops. There are still some antiques businesses left and two open spaces where antiques markets are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays. (Outside of pandemics, of course.)
In Camden Passage was a shop selling re-usable face masks and we bought one each. I am far from convinced as to the protection they afford the wearer or anyone else but when the shops start opening and people start going back to work it is likely that we shall all be expected to wear masks on pubklic transport and anywhere where people gather in close proximity. We later decided that we had put the masks on upside down and so reversed them. They weren’t much more confortable that way round, either.
In Charlton Place, one of the house doorways is decorated with this attractive clamshell plaque with a female face in the middle. The ribs of the shell do double service as the figure’s hair.
This is a glimpse of Duncan Terrace, as exclusive a neighbourhood as it is picturesque. The New River runs along here but is now covered up. Duncan Terrace, incidentally, was named after Admiral Duncan who commanded the fleet against the Dutch at the battle of Camperdown in 1797.
We continued along Duncan Terrace towards City Road and… yes, Jusaka! The park on the left, which marks the course of the New River, is open but the managerment has instituted a one way system for walkers within it.
We met a squirrel who enaged in that run-stop-run-stop game that they play. I think it is because they are afraid of people but know that people sometimes feed them and so they like to keep a safe distance while watching in case we have something to give them.
Enough bird boxes have been installed in this tree to constitute a veritable avian apartment block.
The Jays are perhaps our prettiest corvids with the Magpies following as a close second. They are also relatively scarce so it was good to see this one, especially as he came quite close to us as he hunted for food.
From here, we made our way out into City Road, crossed into Goswell Road and so to Jusaka where we had left our special Jusaka reusable takeaway cups, which they had kindly given us. Coffee in hand, we made the final dash to home.