Monday, 9 March 2015

On Sunday, we had a day out!

If you can't go anywhere, we decided we might as well be tourists here - we went to Camden.

It's been a big part of my life....well most of my life.

When I was young it was poor and the markets were ruins really - full of hippies selling tat.

I was still in a lot of pain but my cracked ribs no longer make me scream in pain when I change gear. We left early and made it. I was even able to park free where I always used to.

And no, I'm not going to tell you where it is.

We climbed Primrose Hill which means a lot to me from when I was a student. I used to skateboard around here. It's a fabulous view even though London is a bigger, taller and  brasher place than it was all those years ago.

We were a bit unlucky; it was cloudy and overcast so it isn't the greatest photo ever. You should take a look for yourself.

Legend has it that the hill was built out of the clay dug out when they built the Regents Parks Canal.

In the foreground is the giant aviary at London Zoo. Who wouldn't love the sight of the former Post Office Tower?

At the top you could just see the remains from the Hindu festival of the colours which was a few days ago; everyone goes up to the top of that hill sooner or later.

It's magical.

We walked down to Camden Town, it's changed a lot since I was last there.

I took a route past where there used to be a famous Banksy graffiti. Sadly it's gone now - sold off by the owner of the wall. He may have made some money out of it but we are all the poorer for what he did.

I think this mural may have taken it's place although memory does play tricks;

It celebrates the areas working class history - the railway yards, the tram sheds and the coal yards. All gone now and in their place; the tourists in Camden and some of the most expensive shops in Primrose Hill and some very expensive cars too!

We spent the day roaming around the various markets of Camden Lock; which was once an old industrial complex. A collection of Tram sheds, Canal wharves and above all stables for the horses that pulled the barges and trams.

Now it's a collection of trendy markets. A very long way away from the old hippies. Nowadays it's really expensive stuff; the second hand stuff has gone.

The old clothes shops have been replaced by very expensive 'vintage' clothes shops - we had a lot of fun. Even 'Rokit' of Amsterdam has opened a branch!

Second hand is fashionable and everyone wears hats!

And now it's time for a grumpy, ill old man with a bad back and a couple of cracked ribs to mutter darkly about the good old days.

Well, even 10 years ago, Camden was a lot cheaper and a lot more edgy and cutting edge. Some of the fun has gone out of it all.

It's not even the Camden Town of Amy Winehouse who died about 4 years ago.

But it is still Camden of a sort;

Where else could you eat all the foods of the world and hear all the languages of too?
The crowds were so bad at the open air food area that I nearly fainted. But I made it back into the stables and we got seats. Robyn ate Mexican, I had a Chinese.
It was a real treat sitting there, marvelling as the world walked by.
I can't fit everything in so I'll finish this off tomorrow - we had fun.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

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