Mmmm another lovely day up in North London. It’s like I’m on holiday.
Emma appeared and we went for a walk. We hit the heath properly. Not so crowded and gorgeous at this this time of year. The only issue is that there are no loos open anywhere so everything has to be meticulously planned, which as you know is not my forte.
We wandered over to Kenwood House and sludged through mud and clambered and watched and talked and laughed. There’s so much to do when there’s nothing to do.
We did get sold a 99 Flake each for like four quid round near The Spaniards, and we sat on the grass that slopes to the lake from the back of the house while I carefully rubbed most of my whippy into my beard. Then more walking and suddenly we were near The Pergola! “I’ve never been!” says Emma.
One of my favourite bits of London. The remains of an old country house garden, now owned by The City of London Corporation. Some bastard put it on a “Secret London” list in 2018 so the peace was broken for a while as the Instagram hordes crowded in to play “Better Than Life” with their unfortunate camerastooges and their bullshit faces. But it’s still glorious if you ignore the insecurity. And by now they’d have found somewhere else to take the same photo 100 times.
Well – they’d have had to. It’s closed for Covid. Padlock on the gates. Reasonably low fences though. We didn’t climb over the fence as that’s not allowed.
We weren’t the only people who hadn’t climbed over the fence. There were some kids who were very loudly distressed about having already lost their weed baggy somewhere. A young couple sauntering around enjoying the beauty, and another desperately wishing we weren’t wandering around. A good place to isolate. And beautiful.
It’s well maintained. I would have kept expecting a friendly but stern volunteer to come and tell us we shouldn’t be there. If we HAD been there. There were roses in full bloom, and the flower beds and lawns are still carefully kept. The frisson of being a little bit disobedient makes things all the sweeter. Even if we weren’t disobedient oh no. I definitely didn’t take any photos.
Eventually, and much later than I thought it was, we emerged back in Hampstead. There was a little Italian place selling coffee through the window near Flask Walk. It’s probably for the best that the pubs are closed or I would have had a pint in The Holly Bush.
Coffee after a long walk and no public loos necessitated a swift hike back to Mel’s on Parliament Hill, but thankfully it’s only about 10 minutes from Flask Walk. Just as well I didn’t have coffee up when we were at Kenwood or I’d have been desperately banging on stranger’s doors in Hampstead and somebody would have bagged me with the family blunderbuss and mounted my head in the drawing room.
The other day my brother very proudly showed me the chemical loo he now keeps in the boot of his car. It makes so much sense. Up in Yorkshire most of the little garages told me their loo was “out of order”. You’d be onto a winner if you had a little luxury loo-wagon to drive around on weekends near places like Battersea Park or Hampstead Heath. Everybody crowding around outside and no public loos open? You’d coin it. You’d be like the teenagers on Carnival who successfully charge queues of drunk partygoers a fiver for use of the downstairs loo at mummy’s house in Notting Hill. Whoever Andy from the ubiquitous Festival “Andy Loos” is, he’s missing a trick, especially with festival season cancelled.