The weather has been gradually improving all week, which has been an incentive to get out and about.
Earlier in the week, we spent a day in Highgate, which we don’t often get to, despite being just up the hill from Upper Holloway. When you’re in the village, it doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to imagine you’re in a small provincial town rather than the London suburbs. After a bit of window shopping we had lunch al fresco at Strada and then walked down Southwood Lane to Highgate Wood. A pleasant walk around the wood was concluded with a coffee and ice cream at the Pavilion Cafe. I took quite a few photos – visit this album for a selection.
Thursday was a special day – my 50th birthday! Spent the day window shopping (again), this time around Angel and Upper Street. In the evening we had a family meal at one of our favourite restaurants, Bento Cafe in Camden Town. Photos here.
Finally on Saturday we were tempted by the fine weather to take a walk from London Bridge and along the South Bank by the ‘More London’ development (the stretch that includes City Hall). Good views of the Shard, which looks more in proportion from London Bridge than from a distance, and the giant Olympic rings that have appeared on Tower Bridge.
From Tower Bridge we caught a bus to Aldgate, which in contrast with the tourist-busy London Bridge, was virtually deserted on a late Saturday afternoon. We were very impressed by the wooden structure that has appeared on the traffic island at Aldgate. This was only completed a few days ago as part of the London Festival of Architecture. According to the festival website:
Paleys upon Pilers marks the spot of Aldgate and its distinguished literary resident, Geoffrey Chaucer. The project forms part of the core programme for the London Architecture Festival 2012. A gate into the City of London existed in this location from Roman times until 1761 and the site remains a strategic position in London today, marking the beginning of High Street 2012, which leads to the Olympic Park. The Paleys remembers the historic easternmost gateway and signals the change taking place in this area over the next decade.
The design is inspired by the two dream poems written by Chaucer while resident in the rooms above the gate from 1374 to 1386. ‘The House of Fame’ and ‘The Parliament of Fowls’ both include images of fantastic dream-like temples of impossible materials and scale, elevated on precarious, precious structures above vast, bizarre landscapes conceivable as analogies for the City.
Paleys upon Pilers is an abstraction of the uppermost room of the old gate and an invocation of Chaucer’s luxurious dreamed temples. The structure consists of a kind of timber embroidery and will sit in the air above the busy Aldgate High Street, supported on pillars decorated with images from Chaucer’s illuminated manuscripts.
Mary Ann thought that it looked just like a giant bahay kubo.
More photos of our walk here.