After a lovely breakfast of scrambled eggs, mushrooms, tomato, toast and tea The Heiress and I set out for Highgate Cemetery, the East side. Smaller than the west side you don't need to book a tour, just plunk down your three GBP with a staff member in the little hut by the gate, get your map and explore. The skies were grey and we needed our umbrellas off and on but you couldn't ask for better cemetery weather (if that doesn't sound too morbid). The photo above shows George Eliot's (1819 - 1880) grave, not far from the most unbelievably large bust of Karl Marx you could ever imagine. I am sorry but it is hideous and scared me half to death.
Once we had explored all of the pathways throughout the cemetery we walked down Swain's Lane so I could show The Heiress Holly Village. Debating whether or not to knock on the door of a lovely elderly man who invited me for coffee last year when we met in Waterlow Park, a voice called out from a window near the arched entry. When I asked about the man in the far left cottage I was told he was dying, oh dear. If only that poor man knew how many times someone halfway around the world had thought of him over the past year. The man from the window saw the look of sadness that spread across my face and said 'It happens to all of us' in a straightforward manner that felt far too blasé and there was nothing left to do but walk away. Poor man.
Catching a bus to Hampstead so that The Heiress could experience Keats House I was keeping watch for 8 Downshire Hill along the way, the former home of writer Elizabeth Jenkins. The trees were thick along the front wall of this house that Jenkins' father bought for her in 1939 but I did my best to capture a shot of something, anything. The house numbers don't always make sense the window panes do seem to match the photo on the cover of her memoir. The View from Downshire Hill seems to be as scarce as hen's teeth but one of these days I hope to stumble across a copy or perhaps give our inter-library loan service a try.
Now if you're ever in Hampstead and feeling a bit peckish you MUST stop at a little cafe around the corner from Keats' Grove called Polly's. It's where I had a yummy Croque Monsieur last year and this year the most delicious bowl of spinach and chick pea soup ever! Just the thing after a long morning of walking outside in the crisp air. The gentleman at the counter was as friendly as before, in fact, everyone was very nice. Next visit I must leave room for a slice of the Victoria Sponge...
The Heiress and I parted ways after we ate - she off to Camden Market and I to John Sandoe Books. The stacks of books everywhere in that shop are legendary but it was waaay too much for me. A woman had somehow managed to get her large dog in to the shop, the poor thing looked about as uncomfortable to turn around as I did so I left to do some damage at Cath Kidston across the road instead. Charing Cross Road was my next stop and then on to Persephone Books before they closed for the evening. Weighed down by books but with a smile on my face I burst through the hotel door, flopped for a few moments, and then we were off again to the V&A for their late night. What a party that is!
Envisioning hallways dotted with the odd person seeking entertainment rather than sit in on a Friday evening I could not have been more wrong. Techno music blared from speakers while people drank wine, danced and ran about from friend to friend in their Halloween costumes. It was fabulous! At the last minute we decided to buy tickets to see the Hollywood Costume exhibit and we were so glad that we did. The exhibit rooms were darkened and soft lights shone on the clothes and costumes from such iconic films as Cleopatra, Gone With the Wind, The Seven Year Itch, Ben Hur, Elizabeth (Cate Blanchett's version AND Bette Davis's), Star Wars, Out of Africa, The Black Swan, The Blues Brothers, Dracula, Harry Potter, Saturday Night Fever and Mildred Pierce - the Joan Crawford picture and much, much more. Right at the end was a glass case with Dorothy's ruby red slippers inside, full of little red sequins - not a ruby in sight - but still! If this exhibit ever comes to a gallery near you - run to buy a ticket, you won't be sorry!
Tomorrow is Linley Sambourne's house with a couple of my favourite blog friends...