Sunday, 16 September 2012

Out and about #6

Continuing in the irregular series of 'what I've been up to' here's the latest installment...

On a recent trip through London I stopped to wander the tight lanes surrounding the church of St Giles in the Fields. This is the last surviving church on the route out of London that the condemned would take on their trip to the hanging ground at Tyburn. The men and women would have an opportunity to stop and have a final drink (a 'St Giles' Bowl') at The Angel pub. The surrounding area became an awful den of poverty by the 18th century. This 'rookery' was home to all manner of ner-do-wells and even spawned its own 'cant' (a language used by thieves, in this case St Giles Greek).

Earlier in the Summer I went on a narrow boat trip on the Cambridgeshire canals. Given the UK spends the majority of the year huddling under rainclouds it's easy to forget how beautiful the countryside can be in the sunshine. In the past goods would have crossed the country almost exclusively on narrow boats. These craft would be piloted by families. Compared to the conditions faced by their working class cousins in the cities, the lives of these men and women on the water would have been fairly decent. In good weather that is...

We sent off an old friend with a combined 'hen and stag' do recently in lieu of his forthcoming marriage. A group of us invaded the seaside town of Whitstable. Located on the East coast it was one of the first regions settled by the Romans when they invaded and quickly became famous for its fish (and particularly oysters). We ate oysters, devoured lobsters, drank, went bowling, drank some more and watched the sun go down. And there was much rejoicing.

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