You couldn’t ask for a better day for walking than today. After two days of fairly crap weather, today felt a little like a (slightly belated) Valentine’s Day gift from the heavens. The sun filled absolutely every corner of a crisp and cloudless sky. It was bliss.
My official walk was a little shorter than normal because I went for a pre-walk walk earlier in the morning (I just couldn’t stay indoors on such a tempting day). Although it isn’t in the Congestion Zone (and, therefore, not technically part of this project), I feel compelled to share a few snaps of my outing to the Columbia Road Flower Market this morning. It’s one of my perennial favourites (pardon the pun) and a place you should definitely include on your next sunny Sunday agenda.
Something about the fishmonger-style shouting, typically touting large slabs of dead things –“Three pounds each, two for five!! Get them while you can!” – bellowed instead to sell bouquets of daisies makes me smile every time. Even better when the bald, muscly, tatted-up vendor looks like he would fit right in on an Alaskan crab boat. Nothing about this guy is a pansy – except maybe the ones he’s selling.
Gray’s Inn made up the bulk of today’s actual walk. In London, there are four Inns of Court where law students study for the Bar and professional barristers go about their practice. Every barrister in London must be a member of one of these four inn-stitutions (sorry, it’s a punny kind of day). Each Inn is a complex of buildings with offices, study halls, libraries, gardens and, as you’d expect, lots of signs with very specific instructions.
Needless to say, these are very serious, official and important places. People have very important and not silly at all titles like Master of the Bench and Master of the Walks (I think I might have to get my business cards reprinted with that last one).
On a weekday, it’s very busy with pedestrians cutting through from all the surrounding streets. On a Sunday, it was a bit dead and I had to double back on every path because I kept running into closed gates. I’d recommend going between 12:00 and 2:30pm Monday-Friday so you can see it more alive and get into the gardens too. If you have to go on a weekend though, it’s still a really lovely little off-road part of London.
Did you know the queen has a specifically appointed reproduction graphics (aka copy machine) company? Neither did I. But, lo and behold, today I found Hobs Repographics.
More exciting than the royal connection, though, was the stuff in their window. I should preface this by saying that, while I’m not what some might consider old, I did hear myself say to a 10-year old recently, “Well, you have to remember that back when I was your age the the internet was only just starting.” Knowing that, you’ll see why I was quite excited today when I saw a 3D printer and its output for the first time in person. I realise my grandchildren will read this post and think, “Oh, Gram, how cute,” and try to imagine what life was like before people printed out their new cars, replacement organs and probably their dinners. But for me it was a big deal.
The other worldly advancement I witnessed today was this:
Spring is creeping in! More and more flowers are popping up, fewer and fewer layers are being worn, and more and more people are smiling as they walk through the city. It’s so close and I just can’t wait. Maybe on the next walk I’ll even be so bold as to go scarf-less (imagine the scandal!).
See you next time!
153 days until the Congestion Zone Party! Follow on Twitter for more updates.