15th March – a lovely day in London with Diana, where we made the most of our knowledge of London streets to get repeatedly lost, including the area immediately next to Tottenham Court Road (“I can’t believe I’m a Londoner– we’d better ask a foreigner for directions,” said Diana). But also a day to re-discover a lovely street full of curious craft shops, including a shop full of knitted household objects (where I particularly coveted a standard lamp that looked like it was clad in a giant striped sock) – and to discover other parts of London we didn’t know. This included the fabulous atmospheric Pollock’s Toy Museum in Fitzrovia, where we wandered up tight little stairways to discover delightful mechanical toys from Edwardian times, rooms in miniature created from matchboxes, and glaring china dolls with not a smile amongst them. We chatted to the only other visitor there, a man with a briefcase who was taking ‘an hour off’, who said that his child had screamed when he’d taken him to see the teddy bears, and we could see his point – sitting, standing and lying behind a floor to ceiling glass panel, they seemed entirely menacing. The atmosphere was so charged, with all these silent watching figures and games waiting to be played, and the layers of rooms (uneven floors, with one hearth that went back to 17th century) so maze-like, it felt that we could have been anywhere, in any country. Escaping, at around 3, we returned back to the inner sanctum, Covent Garden, for a pie each at the wonderfully named Battersea Pie Station, which didn’t quite live up to its namesake in size, but did produce an extremely nice butternut squash and feta, and lamb and rosemary pie, with peas on the side.
Marks: 10/10 – for atmosphere and flavour and living up to everything I’d hoped these would (I really need to be more discerning about my marking system).