Saturday in London

Saturday in London in December not the best time to visit London.

Many people waiting for train. Train only five coaches, overcrowded, passenger standing. Come January when the rail fares go up, the rail companies will tell us the rise is justified due to improving train services.

Arrive Waterloo Station 2-30 early afternoon, time to wander into Lower Marsh, have a coffee, maybe look at South Bank Street Food Market then on to Covent Garden, lunch in Home Slice in Neal’s Yard, then maybe visit a coffee shop or two, then on to City of My Mind album launch party in Old Street, or so I thought. Though I would have preferred to have arrived lunchtime better still midday, but got up late.

Lower Marsh has a street food market in the week, today a craft market.

Lower Marsh, hidden behind Waterloo Station, is one of those up and coming places that has not yet arrived, but well worth exploring.

Long chat with Jessica Moscrop with her stall JesSpoke, her own designs, though I wish I had asked her more about her work. Far better than the overpriced tat I see in Guildford High Street or at the Farnham Maltings markets.

Then to find Four Corners.

I look in Balance, a new coffee, maybe look in later.

I do not see Love & Scandal. Maybe no more, I see a new building going up.

I pass Colman Coffe. I have never found open.

Four Corners have a van outside Waterloo Station. I have a feeling I have looked in their coffee shop before, as looks vaguely familiar. It was through encountering their van that I was looking for their coffee shop.

I order a cappuccino. Blended with cocoa. Why, why use Ozone coffee, then ruin with cocoa? I cannot be bothered sending back.

On the way I encountered drunken idiots in Santa costumes, more and more and kept turning up. Hundreds and hundreds of them. Impossible walk down the street. Eventually coffee shop door is locked to prevent then walking in to use the toilet. Not a singe one buys a coffee, not even a takeaway coffee. They are also sitting on the coffee shops seats outside, leaning on the window. When they finally leave the street is covered in rubbish. They have managed to kill trade for the day or the street market. Whoever was responsible for this charade should be made to pay to clean up the street.

Four Corners has a long bookshelf lined with travel books hence the name. They also supply Four Corners passports, mugs, little notebooks and sweatshirts.

Amazing poster hidden in the toilet.

Finally the drunken idiots depart leaving a trail of rubbish.

I still could not find Love & Scandal. Maybe it is no more.

Note: I check later, Love & Scandal has closed. A pity as lovely coffee shop that at night was a bistro.

Mushroom and chestnut soup in Balance sounded good when I looked in earlier. I double check it is still available and that it is mushroom and chestnut, not chestnut mushrooms. Sounds good. Sadly when served weak and watery and lukewarm almost cold. The toasted bread soggy, as they had already put the butter on the toast.

I ordered a cappuccino. Served too hot. The menu says we do not serve coffee hot, thus absolutely no excuse.

The salad looked enticing except it looked no different to when I looked in much earlier. Not therefore so enticing.

Moronic music playing in the background, fortunately not too loud.

A coffee shop trying to be trendy and failing miserably.

Leaving Lower Marsh, now six o’clock.

Too late to walk over Hungerford Bridge. I decide against back way into Waterloo Station, and go in the side entrance, straight down into the Tube, only then walk for miles.

Exit Covent Garden, change at Leicester Square.

I go on a detour to The Espresso Room, which I find open, open until seven.

I abandon all hope of eating at Home Slice, as there will be a long wait.

They remember me, I get a free coffee, as bought a bag of coffee on my last visit.

A Lithuanian girl makes me V60 using Kemyan coffee. Excellent. Best coffee all day. Very fruity.

We chat long gone closing time.

Available free Clipper. An example of a free magazine of quality. Comparable with Independent Life, a free magazine in Leeds and York.

On my last visit I was given direction to a shop selling Standart, Drift. I could not find. I followed directions, head down Monmouth Street to Seven Dials.

I learn a vital piece of information was missing, in Shorts Gardens.

Leicester Square is nearby, but I decide to try and find the shop, then catch train at Covent Garden.

I catch MagMa before they close. Magazines are in the basement. A grave disappointment compared with Magazine Brighton or Ideas on Paper. No, not latest edition of Standart, not sure of new edition of Drift. As with everyone else, up against the bad distribution of Standart. They have Om Nom. Earlier editions? No, no room for back issues. They too have no idea what the name means. Quality print is not dead. They receive half a dozen new titles every week, or was it day, with requests to stock.

I find Covent Garden Station closed. I head back to Leicester Square, an hour wasted.

People are queuing in the street to get into the station.

I head to Old Street. Find what I am looking for, where Jewelia is holding a launch party for City of My Mind, her debut album.

A queue to get in, bouncers on the door. I walk to the front of the queue, show I am invited, they usher me in. Through a bar, down into an airless basement.

Jewelia welcomes me.

I was not going to stay late, maybe leave at latest by nine, in time to get to Lower Marsh and eat at Maria’s Cafe. But, I have arrived late, Jewelia does not play until late. I decide to stay. I will leave at 10-30 very latest.

She doe not finish playing until gone 10-30.

A brief chat, I feel guilt leaving, but do not know when last train.

A nightmare getting to Waterloo Station, I know there os a train at 2312, which is why I would have have left at 2230. I leave at 2245.

By mistake I get off at Bank, thinking London Bridge. Baffled why London and City Line, not Jubilee Line. I think will it be open. Miles to walk, I am thinking would have been quicker to have changed to train to Waterloo East. No trains shown on display. No trains or display not working. No one about.

I walk back, realising I should have got off at London Bridge.

At Waterloo signs for Way Out, Waterloo East. I follow signs to Way Out finding it literally is the way out. Head to Waterloo East. Exit way along a platform. Why were there no signs to Waterloo Station?

Five minutes to catch a train at 2335 a fast train.

Pick up a roll from Upper Crust. They used to be good, not any more. Stale.

12-coach train, packed.

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