To London

And so to London, heading into what seemed to be going to be the eye of the great October 2013 storm.  And indeed, sitting up in bed between 6 and 8am, looking out at a scene of thrashing branches and flying leaves and twigs, it did feel a bit stormy. BY ten, however, it was all over, the sun shone, and although main line rail services were sparse or non-existent, by a combination of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and the Overground we arrived at Shoreditch with little delay.  A leisurely stroll up Bethnal Green Road revealed a fascinating array of shops selling Asian style clothing before enquiry of a local butcher revealed that the spoon maker we were looking for was on Hackney Road not Bethnal Green Road.  He advised us to hedge through the back streets, including past the site of a former, and doubtless much-missed pub.  Hackney Road, handbag capital of the universe, duly appeared, as did Barn the Spoon’s lock-up shop, complete with a floor deep in shavings, a pile of likely logs, and Barn sitting on a stool carving away.  For more on Barn the Spoon, see the Spitalfields Life blog (see link in side column) and put him in the search facility there. Armed with three lovely wooden porridge spoons (two for eating, one for serving) we hedged back towards Brick Lane, stopping on the way for a hearty Turkish lunch (corner of Bethnal Green Rd and Chilton St – forget the name of the restaurant but if was good.)

The Old Truman’s Brewery in Brick Lane is a huge site where beer is no longer brewed. The firm was Truman, Hanbury and Buxton.  I remember the original brew from my London days in the 60s and 70s and it’s good to note that the Truman’s name and beer has been revived this year from a brewery in Hackney Wick.  It was interesting to note both Quaker Lane running along one side of the brewery, and a plaque to Fowell Buxton, who was an anti-slavery campaigner, member of the C of E, but with a Quaker mother and many Friends among his associates.


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