Monday, April 18, 2011

London Sunday

The sun was out a lot on this warmish Sunday. We had a late start to the morning, making our way down to the Columbia Road flower market at about 11.30am after a wake up coffee at Climpsons. It took us ages to make our way through the flower stalls, it was so crowded.

I still find it amusing to listen to all the stallholders - rough and ready East End men (mostly): "last 5 forget me knots, only 3 quid", etc!

The push for gentrification in this area was started in the nineties with a lot of artists and musicians taking over (squatting in) derelict buildings. There is still a very bohemian atmosphere in many parts of Hackney. This gentleman was sitting on the window ledge above busy Columbia Road wearing a wolf's mask (very realistic) doing his embroidery!

......and as usual there was some wonderful music on the streets. We recognised the gentleman playing the double bass as the accordion player at yesterday's Broadway Market.

We met up with Davey, Cath and Eddie about 1.00pm at their place. We'd been invited to hang out with Davey and Eddie for the afternoon while Cath had some time with the girls (a baby shower).

First stop was The Brittannia for a reviving Mean Time beer and then one of their famous Sunday roasts (roast beef and yorkshire pud and all the trimmings). The pub was packed with locals including lots of little kids and even a couple of dogs (in the dining area too) - a very happy convivial atmosphere. A lot of meat was being cooked and consumed!

Eddie had had a wonderful night's sleep (as had his Mum and Dad), but a wakeful morning. He slept for two and a half hours very peacefully throughout our pub sojourn in amongst all the noise and hubbub.

He woke up later when we went outside in the pub garden all serene and good humoured. Rob says this is his "I'll have a beer over here pose".

We made our way then across the North Eastern corner of the very extensive Victoria Park to Cadogan Terrace to Ben and Rachel's flat. Rachel was out with Cath and Ben was in charge of Sienna (nearly three) and Xavier (6 months). Things were a bit hectic with 3 littlies all under (nearly) three at this time of the day when things can get a bit scratchy, but the boys (Ben and Davey) looked pretty relaxed as they fed their respective babies in this very domestic scene.

That night Davey invited us to see a Blues concert with him at the iconic Ronnie Scott's jazz club in Frith Street, Soho. It was fun to be amongst the crowds in this buzzy part of London, very European in feel with all the club and theatregoers thronging the streets and crowding the outdoor seating of the bistros.

The Ronnie Scott Blues Experience and the 24 Pesos gave a wonderful concert - great interpretations of a lot of Freddie King, Lead Belly and Muddy Waters stuff, very tight and electrifying playing (and singing).

We were ecstatic when they opened the set with the old Freddie King Tore Down which is most memorable for us because Davey, accompanied by all the cousins, and Rigby, played this for Rob at his 50th birthday party.

We loved the venue too, very stylish and atmospheric as befits one of London's oldest jazz venues.

This was a very memorable experience for us, and wonderful to share it with Davey.

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