Monday, March 30, 2015

Islington is, Well, Different! And I Think We Like It That Way

If you've ever lived in London and specifically, if you've ever lived in Islington,

you might be inclined to think that it's different.  In all the best ways.

Islington used to have a bit of a Leftie-Woolie reputation that it had borrowed from Camden, its North London neighbor.

It was one of the first of London's "grottier" neighborhoods to gentrify.  (First it was the lawyers who moved in...well, after the artists....the musicians, the circus performers and antiques dealers.)

It's different, because it's by a canal, and not the River Thames

In its gentrification, it has certainly benefitted from it's proximity to the British Library, the Eurostar station at St. Pancras, AND the burgeoning City of London (by extension Spitalfields, Shoreditch, Dalston.......)

I get the impression it's still COOL to live in Islington.

I get the impression that Islington "types" (as Brits still seem to see themselves....)

seem to generally think that LIVING is COOL.

And that it's cool to embrace ALLSORTS in that process of living.  I got that strong impression

during my walk up the A1 from the Angel Tube stop.  The A1 is otherwise known as

Upper Street.  It's a nice stroll.

For window shopping.  Among other things.

Like Easter-appropriate love affairs with plastic animals that light up in the night.  (How can something made out of hard molded plastic look so huggable and cuddly?  I can't help my tender feelings for this little him/her.)

This chappie not so much but - maybe he/she elicits some tender stirrings from - yourself?

Islington does not shirk from embracing nature.  It has an atmosphere of a proper village

despite it's gritty urban setting.

And still retains that whiff of Dickensian days past, when a little posey was just the thing.  For expressing tender feelings - regarddless of whether Sir, or Madam, was doing the expressing.

Poseys like this pulsatilla,

or these hyacinths of the grape/muscari type.

Your stroll up or down Upper Street will include a public garden or two.  (Still inviting in the gloaming.)

And the necessary pastry shop.  Or two.

But I was speaking of embraces.

She looks so solemn now but just seconds before the photo was taken, this little one was expressing herself sticking her tongue out at passers-by.  I guess she was surprised that one of them with a camera stuck her tongue out back.  And curled it like a cigarette russe.....and twisted her mouth into a cock-eyed figure eight.  And waited for her to do the same.  So an OTHER picture could be taken.  A different kind of embracing.  Between two strangers.  But she became instead, bewildered.  That is youth.  No?  Or just being strangers?  Sometimes when we hope to build bridges....we are........ misunderstood.

Did I mention pastry-in-the-evening?  And shouldn't this include....

I believe that Islington was the site of the second Ottolenghi after Notting Hill.  Lucky Islington.  And unlike the Notting Hill location, there is a nice roomy inside space for enjoying Ottolenghi yummy things.

In Islington, posh will be embraced too.  But in an artisanal, discreet, professorly, olden days kind of way.  If still "on (silvery) trend".

Making friends is encouraged.  (You couldn't call Islington snooty.)

Especially if you're both arty types.

And yes, I have mentioned Islington's remembrances and references to Times Past.

But were you expected these sorts of times?  Me.  Either.  !!!!  

errr...yes I was saying Times Past.
  (Rather a lot of this you'll see if you come back here soon.  Or go to Islington yourself.)

 We saw alot of Islington in this Time just Past.  Hope to again.  You?

(See my link here - sorry, missing a few pics but you'll get the idea - for my Canal Walk from Dalston post that will spill you out at the above location.)


  1. Quelle balade !!! Merci ! Elle me donne envie de passer une nouvelle fois sous la Manche !!

  2. Hello hello! Islington j'y etais il n'y a pas si longtps, es-tu passee chez SMUG (passage camden), j'ai adore!!

  3. thank you for the walk .. would have loooooved to join you at Ottolenghi :)

  4. isn't it darling? i found my first ever uppercase mag on upper street, and many, many moons ago we had a sweet treat at otto's, not realising, frankly, where we were, the best experiences! perhaps a good place to meet up next time? there will always be a next time...
    never knew this was also called A1. now, thxs for that extra bit of info and a glorious walk up and down. hope jury duty didn't bother too much. x n♥