Harringay Green Lanes to Chancery Lane via Caledonian Road

Tollington Park N4

Tollington Park N4

An unplanned walk – effectively locked out of the house and inadequately dressed. I jump the Overground to Harringay Green Lanes and buy a jumper from TK Maxx. Choosing a notebook and pen to record the day’s walk a man walked into the shop and just said, “Why is life so shit”, then paid and left without another word. Somebody was having a worse day than me.

I notice that the jumper I bought hurriedly is called a ‘Rodgers Zip Jumper’ – nice coincidence even with the alternative spelling of my surname.

There was no entrance into Wray Crescent Open Space sadly. A man sat loitering in a car by the gates with the engine running. Another man just stood on the other side of the fence beside a metal post.

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As I see earthworks everywhere I’m intrigued by Newington Barrow Way just off Hornsey Road – I’m taking the meaning of Barrow as a burial mound rather than the wheeled variety.

The clouds look ominous and on Seven Sisters Road the Heavens open in quite dramatic style and I’m forced to seek shelter in Le Croissant D’Or cafe till it eases up about half and hour later. I contemplate buying an Italian silk scarf calling me from a shop window and still regret not taking the plunge, instead I push on to Holloway Road.

I decide to walk the length of Caledonian Road, ‘The Cally’, one of London’s great thoroughfares. A stocky bald guy walks past muttering to himself.

I find a 1956 edition of Ian Fleming’s Live and Let Die in good condition with the original dustwrapper for 50p. A quick check on Abebooks tells me they go for upwards for £12. I leave it on the shelf for someone else to find.

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Muriel Street, N1

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Priory Heights

I get a fantastic warm feeling as I pass the Rainbow Club where we took the boys to playgroup when they were babies. Now it’s an Escape Room game so they may well return to play there as teenagers. The same glow accompanies me up Wynford Road that I associate with the first steps around the block the kids took as toddlers. Priory Heights casts a benign protective shadow.

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Keystone Crescent N1

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Housmans Bookshop

I spend too long in Housmans radical bookshop and eventually walk away with a copy of Rudolph Rocker’s The London Years for a fiver and four back issues of the New Left Review for a quid.

Round the wreckage of Kings Cross and down Grays Inn Road, into Cromer Street, Argyle Walk and Marchmont Street – the wanders of my Islington years. My purchases at Housmans mean I have to resist the gravitational pull of Judd Books and head on through the Brunswick Centre.

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Through Queens Square with nice memories of studying Experimental Sound Art at the Mary Ward Centre and making recordings of the lamp-posts and park railings.

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Grays Inn Gardens

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Sandland Street

On the far side of Red Lion Square I stop to admire the Geoffrey Fletcher gaslights in Sandland Street before passing through Grays Inn to Chancery Lane Station and back home to Leytonstone.

 

14 Comments

  1. Kim Fox   •  

    Your misfortune (being locked out of house) our delight (and an unexpected one at that). Lots of lovely pics, including the final, very arty, gas lamp standard. Was Way Crescent Open Space being subject to some sort of requisitioning at your time of passing? – if you’d stated the men were wearing yellow (didlo) jackets, then we’d all understand some construction site in the offing- the way you describe it sounds rather sinister. Thank you – will doubtless come back with more to say when I have digested the offering.

    • JohnR   •     Author

      Thanks Kim. They weren’t official looking in the Park, just seemed a bit suss that’s all – probably just my over-active imagination

  2. M Swart   •  

    Forgive me for being so superficial, but I am intrigued by the sartorial references – a Rodgers zip jumper and an Italian silk scarf – I would have loved a picture of that…

    • JohnR   •     Author

      I really should have bought that silk scarf but at the time £19.99 seemed a bit much for an impulse buy

  3. Duncan   •  

    An interesting post with some great snaps. I am also intrigued by Geoffrey Fletcher. A whole pile of stuff to dig in to.

    I have looked at some clips on Youtube of the film of The London Nobody Knows with James Mason. London is in much better nick than it was then.The Past is a Foreign Country, They Do Things Differently There.

    Thanks

    • JohnR   •     Author

      Thanks Duncan – The London Nobody Knows is a gem of a film and the book is not a natural choice for adaptation. You can pick his books up quite cheaply on ebay usually.

  4. Kim Fox   •  

    Stream of consciousness blended with stream of images engenders growing awareness/connectivity in viewers. A new chapter for a new book (‘From byway to my way’?) is taking its first, tentative steps towards insight…Master we appreciated the hidden message in your last work (‘This other London’ being an anagram of ‘his/her London tot’ or with a judicious addition of s/a which can be thought of as ‘same as’- and an apostrophe ‘His/her’s London to a T’); we are on message!

    • JohnR   •     Author

      thanks for that Kim

  5. Graham Larkbey   •  

    Turn left just before Keystone Cres and you’ll find the King Charles I – lovely quirky little community-owned pub, with good beer and a friendly welcome.

    • JohnR   •     Author

      thanks for the tip Graham – I’ll pay a visit next time I’m in the area

  6. Martin   •  

    John, which shop did you find the Ian Fleming book? I’m sure it’s gone by now but at least it’ll get me out walking.

    • JohnR   •     Author

      Hi Martin – can’t remember the name for sure but it could well have been the RSPCA shop at 285 Caledonian Road near the Co-Op

      • Martin   •  

        Thanks. I’ll try next week. I must say you inspired me to walk from Tottenham Marshes down through Clapton and on towards Walthamstow marshes, then continuing through Hackney marshes. I just wanted to see how far I could walk in three hours. My phone died though so I didn’t know how long it took. It was in January and it was freezing and there was no one around. It was great. The next thing I know I’m outside the Olympic Stadium. I’d meant to go on until the Thames but decided to turn right and go through Victoria Park and then get the train home. It was all inspired by you.
        Last summer me and my brother wandered around Greenwich Park, we found a nice little pub to the side, The Plume of Feathers, then wandered up the hill. My God, the views from the top were astonishing! Wandering around the rest of the park not knowing where we were going was the best bit. Afterwards we got off the DLR at Limehouse because I wanted to find the Prospect of Whitby. So just exploring we found ourselves on the riverfront at Limehouse for another astonishing vista. Interestingly, this little walkway isn’t signposted for the public and you’d almost believe it was private property you were walking on. They’re very naughty. Anyway, that’s the value of just being curious and see where your nose leads you, I suppose. Then just before we got to The Prospect of Whitby we found the delightful Shadwell Basin which wasn’t piled high with yachts! Anyway, I love love love your videos and your choice of music is sublime!

        • JohnR   •     Author

          Thanks so much for sharing that Martin – great to hear. Shot a new video yesterday- a fantastic walk, should be online Wednesday

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