Cats, photographs and Finchley Fair

A quick post of an unexpectedly great London day…

We strolled around lesser-known but lovely parts of Islington, spotting some beautiful squares.

House in Angel

A very friendly neighbourhood cat:

Cat

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Exploring Clerkenwell

J is away in Durham, so I thought I’d share some photos with you from a quick lunchtime stroll around Clerkenwell

Barclays bikes

I’ve worked around this area near Farringdon on and off for a few years, but as ever when you go somewhere every day, it’s easy to forget some of the details you see all the time. 

Daffodils in cattle trough

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Exploring London: Hackney City Farm and Columbia Road

Maybe this particular weekend we were missing the countryside, or maybe we just wanted to see the more natural parts of London, but we decided to fill our weekend with flowers [urgh] and animals [better]!

We started at Hackney City Farm, which neither of us had been to before. It’s free, so definitely ticks the frugal box, but there isn’t too much there to see so not worth a long trip. With the help of the camera zoom, though, we did find some bunnies… (Common theme, we know)

Rabbit at Hackney City Farm

We also spotted some very peaceful-looking donkeys, who were proving to be pretty popular!

Donkey at Hackney City Farm

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An impromptu Saturday

This was an unexpectedly fun day. With no real plans, we checked a few of our favourite sources for inspiration (we’ll do a post on these soon).

We found a series of sessions called Daylight Music at the gorgeous Union Chapel in Islington. From 12 noon, they have an eclectic mix of up-and-coming artists. This was our first visit, but we imagine it encompasses quite a range of genres, and also features a pretty amazing café at the back, with proceeds going towards a homeless charity. They serve endless cups of tea, home-baked cakes and bacon sandwiches [!!!], with an informal atmosphere. We saw the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment‘s Experience ensemble perform Haydn, a slightly too intense guitarist/singer/songwriter, and The Swingles (previously the Swingle Singers), in an amazing line-up (which, to be fair, isn’t a typical weekly occurrence!).

Union Chapel, Islington
The OAE performed brilliantly, but the Swingles were the real highlight. They sang some of their well-known material and some new, but they interestingly described their technique of live looping, where they sing something once and their sound engineer instantly records it and replays it. This enables them to layer their vocals even further and develop their rich sound.

Inside Union Chapel, Islington

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A walk around Newmillerdam

One of the main things I miss about the North are the many beautiful places to walk, and whenever I’m back there I always make an effort to get outside as much as possible. Today, before the winter frost had had chance to melt, I headed for a morning walk with some friends at Newmillerdam Country Park, an area of woodland surrounding a large lake near Wakefield.

Sun shining in the woods

Just as we set off, my friend somehow spotted a spider frozen on the ground. We wondered whether it would just carry on as normal once it had defrosted!

Frozen spider at Newmillerdam Country Park

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Bubbly St Paul’s and other London wanderings

Hello everyone! We’re excited to share with you a few photos today which are hopefully just a little bit different… We were happy with the colours we achieved amongst the rather grey skies.

We planned a festive wander around some rather famous London landmarks. We aimed to take in some of the traditional Christmas markets, but ended up more fascinated by some of the photo opportunities we discovered.

St. Paul's

We enjoyed how the dramatic, austere, grey St Paul’s (above) was brilliantly offset by this fun bubble (below) created by a riverbank entertainer who was entrancing a large group of children, as well as us!

Bubble over St. Paul's

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Walk on the Heath

One evening we went for another walk on Hampstead Heath (we’ve previously talked about it here). The sun was setting as we headed up, so we enjoyed some dramatic silhouettes of our fellow walkers…

Couple under a tree

A pretty church spire in the distance…

Hampstead skyline silouette

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Wintry museums day in London

Before the madness of Christmas week properly kicked off, we took time to spend a festive day together in London. We wanted to try a new skating venue, having been to Somerset House and the Tower of London in previous years, so decided to try the Natural History Museum‘s rink.

NHM ice rink by day

Before that, though, we went inside and checked out the annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition, which is always wonderful, whether you’re into photography or not! [It’s an incredible collection.]

Natural History Museum

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A rainy City walk

As you may have spotted on our Twitter, we decided to venture on a rainy walk around the City, taking in some lesser-known historical bits and bobs and ending up back at the Tower, before the poppies exhibition that we’ve blogged about before is finally taken down. This time, we aimed to see them from an angle we’d not previously spotted – around the ‘front’ of the Tower, nearest the river. Here, there was another ‘wave’:

Wave of poppies at the Tower of London

It was fascinating to see the poppies up close, via the means of some rather heavy camera zoom:

Rain on the poppies at the Tower of London

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November at the Imperial War Museum

On Remembrance Sunday we thought it was an appropriate time to go and visit the Imperial War Museum, now back open after a while undergoing renovation. Especially poignant given the day, it was a fascinating trip and well worth a visit, especially to the moving [and pretty devastating] Holocaust exhibition on the top two floors. Cameras weren’t allowed inside the exhibitions, but Lambeth North tube was looking rather industrial and photogenic [usually I don’t edit my photos except for a bit of cropping, but this one uses an effect built into the camera that I was playing with as we were walking]:

Lambeth North tube

The light-filled central hall, going up through the centre, features transport and weapons from battle scenes throughout the modern age.

V2 bomb at Imperial War Museum

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