North, South, Eats and West.

Posted by Jeni in LBC | 5 June 2008

Dear June, Is my 'oosbind in mint condition? What do you think? He was six years older than me 32 years ago which makes him nearly 92%older than the number you first thought of.

It's 00.04. Four minutes past the witching hour although it feels like 7 in the evening and I'll tell you why.....

Yesterday I ventured out to Westbourne Grove. I had never been there before, or so I thought. In fact two producers optioned a script of mine, some time ago, and I had visited their offices, it was the very building I was about to find myself in.

Don't you just love synchronicity?

Anyway I took the tube from Latimer Road and two stops later walked left out of the station and left again into 'Meanwhile Gardens'. A more delightful name I've yet to find. The gardens run alongside the Grand Union Canal which sparkled in the sunshine. Ducks and geese floated along the water I was mesmerised by this hidden treasure in West London.

After about 3 minutes - the directions I had been given - I walked down the slope to Kensal Road and counted the numbers until I reached 222. Inside a fairly bland building I was shown to unit 3.

I was doing a voice over for a new product. Make no mistake voice overs are a pressure; a script you've never seen before, an unknown producer,director, client, not to mention the possibility that they made a mistake choosing you as opposed to Jane Horrocks. A new voice over is like the first audition you have ever did, nerve wracking.

Unit 3 was all pea-green walls, Rococo furniture, doors leading to hidden composers and a buxom Kiwi receptionist who fed me ginger snaps, two crumpets with lashings of butter and a mug of 'ot 'erbal tea.

The recording went down well as did the five 'Roses' chocolates I chewed between takes, in fact the last one nearly cost me the job as I couldn't suck the toffee quickly enough. I left to walk back to LBC, only I went the wrong way so ended up taking the tube.

I'm listening to BRAVADO MASALA by JAMES ASHER and MAHESH VINAYAKRAM at the moment, a fusion of Indian singing and wonderful drumming perfect for balmy weather and barmy driving. The trip back to Battersea was brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrilliant.

The old man arrived at 8.30. I was all relaxed after a long soak although the new bath pillow had been blown up too high and I very nearly broke my neck. We drove off to the ICA as the sun turned Buckingham Palace pink. We parked the car in front of the Royal Society. Jim got all excited that Darwin had probably visited there and I got all excited at the old street lamps, I nearly sung a medley from 'My Fair Lady'.

Down the steps and left into the ICA. THE RED LADIES, by the CLOG ENSEMBLE started at 10.00. The audience, which was big, was comprised of actors, directors and artists. The cast was comprised of several women all dressed the same; black macs, red scarves, black glasses, red shoes, black stockings, red cases. They made patterns on the stage and perfomed what can only be described as a working-walking-art-installation. My middle step daughter was one of the red ladies. After we hugged her she left with her partner for Brighton. Jim and I had a drink in the buzzy bar shouted goodnight to the Windsors who were sleeping somewhere in Buck. House and drove round St.James, down behind Knightsbridge, through to the Embankment and over Battersea Bridge to the flat. We got in late.

Jim drove home this morning. I went off to my acupuncturist, who needled me back into sanity, and arrived 5 minutes later than I like to at LBC.

After the show I parked the car and took the 170 bus to Victoria. Took the Northern Line to the Angel where a young man offered up his seat. I think he thought I was pregnant, or at the very least 'old'. Either way I declined and thwacked him with my cardigan.

I walked to Camden Passage. Antique shops, clothes shops and PAUL YOUNGS CHOCOLATE SHOP. I had the pleasure of opening it two years ago. Now he's about to open his third in New York. I went to look at jewellery made from Tagua, an Ecuadorian fruit. Beautiful beads carved out of the huge seed by Lourdes a cocoa bean exporter from Ecuador. Every penny she makes goes back to the people in Ecuador. Paul will be selling some of her collection at the TASTE OF LONDON in Regents Park in a couple of weeks, he'll also be launching her incredible chocolate bars made of 75% arriba dark chocolate - CHCHUKULULU - look out for it.

I walked from the Angel down to St. Pancras.

I got all emotional. I journeyed from St. Pancras regularly through-out my young days. Travelling to and from my mothers. A huge sculptor of John Betjeman looks up at the sky and Two Young Lovers, embracing under the clock, replace the tatty eateries and train tracks. I stopped an elderly woman and her even older mother by the Champagne bar. They had come down from Kettering and Leicester with their cameras, to snap the new station that used to to take their train to the Middle of Britain but now takes the Euro Star to the Midldle of Paris.

I skipped down the stairs across to Kings Cross and took the Circle Line to South Kensington and the Jamaican High Commission.

Peter Jones, from the 'Dragons Den', Ainsley Harriot from the box and Levi Roots, a winner from 'The Den', as well as hundreds of others, were there to celebrate Levi's new 'REGGAE REGGAE COOK BOOK'. Levi started with the Jamaican National anthem then made an inspirational speech. He credited Nelson Mandela, Bob Marley and Mr.Jones for their part in his life. Then he presented his bemused, but lovely mother. She came here to work to support her six kids whilst they stayed in Jamaica with Miriam his granny. When he arrived in the UK, aged 12, unable to read, his ma took him to Tulse Hill library and introduced him to Shakespeare. Not literally you understand.

Two years ago Levi was selling 65 bottles of 'Reggae Reggae Sauce' at the Notting Hill Carnival. Now, with the backing of Peter Jones, he has a factory in Gwent and the ridiculous statistic of out-selling Heinz's Tomato Ketchup.

Mr. Roots now visits schools to encouarge the young. He was a feisty 'yoof' like them. He spent time at Her Majesty's Pleasure, so now he takes time to give back by talking and teaching the young how to slay their own dragons. I felt privileged to be there.

I strolled through Kensington. Past 'Harrods' which has a huge tarpaulin over its scaffolding with a painting of 'Harrods' on it. You would never know it was a facade.

Grabbed a No 19 on Sloane Street. Climbed off on the south side of Battersea Bridge, walked along the river and at 8.52, as the sun went down over the Thames, I passed St. Marys Church. 'VOX CORDIS' were singing an evening of 'watery music', unfortunately I only caught the last three songs.

  1. Piano.

  2. Conductor.

  3. Women.

  4. Men.

22 Pews.

77 places.

A smattering of listeners.

As 'Songs of the Fleet' by Charles Standford neared its conclusion I started to cough, the little church amplified my chest so I left.

As I stepped out into the evening two geese waggled towards me. I have photos of them, on my phone, looking up at me. Next to pictures of John Betjeman looking up at St. Pancras's glass ceiling and me looking up at the lovers under the clock.

From West London to Central. From North London to South. I've been a tourist in my own town.

Tomorrow I am to the cottage and a weekend of eating. Restaurant, friends and the Northern Git, if the weather holds up I may just give the lawn a little trim. But I'm taking home Levi's cook book, I may even rustle up a seriously special reggae boat fish, or not.....

till then c ya.

Jeni Barnett tells of her scrumptious time at Good Food Live in her first audiobook! Download NOW from iTunes

Comments

1. At June 6, 2008 8:52 AM Colin Jennings wrote:

Dear Jeni
what a nice gentleman to give up his seat for you. It doesn't mean you are pregnant or old! In my youth I was always taught to give up my seat to any lady or indeed a gentleman if he was more senior in years to myself. You shouldn't have hit him with your cardigan, rather have given him a hug for showing old fashioned chivalry.

2. At June 6, 2008 2:47 PM judi4 wrote:

Dear June, I too have a Northern Git, as I have looked after him quite carefully over 41 years, he's quite well preserved, needs a bit of attention now and again (more now than again), perhaps we could get more for them as a trio?

Dear Jeni, I thought I'd better let you know you made a mistake in todays blogg, just to save Old Ma Jones the bother!!!! Love to all xx

3. At June 6, 2008 7:35 PM johntrotman wrote:

Hi - just watching UK food and thinking how dull it is now without your input - any plans to return?

4. At June 7, 2008 8:15 AM rhianon wrote:

Funny thing about Darwin. He spent his later life trying to explain to anyone who'd listen that his evolution theory was crap. He said he'd been asking questions and providing his own answers with no true reference to reason. He preached from the book of Hebrews in the New Testament about faith being the evidence he was looking for all along. 'A wasted life believing my own lies' he said.

5. At June 7, 2008 10:39 AM chrissie wrote:

Hi Jeni,

Guess we are both lucky to have "Northern Gits"! They tell us the truth even when we don't want to hear it!

Mine is the 60 year old model and things are starting to fall off but it adds to the antique value....perhaps.

Chrissie x

6. At June 7, 2008 12:02 PM Hymie wrote:

Hi Jeni,
I really enjoyed reading that, you're so good at describing your trips around London.

Many thanks for cheering us all up.
Have a great weekend cooking and eating.....

Hymie x

7. At June 8, 2008 1:09 PM June wrote:

Hi Jeni
Lovely, another trip around London, so thank you.
I always feel the best way to explore and find your way around London is by bus and on foot. It's amazing what you come across.
One of my favourite places is Postman's Park between King Edward St and Aldersgate St, not far from St Pauls. I always leave there feeling humble and thankful for my lot in life.
Do visit if you haven't done so before, oh and make sure you walk right to the back of the park if entering via Aldersgate St (well gardens really it's a very small space)to discover what I'm talking about.
Love June

Copyright 2007, Jeni Barnett. Website produced by Chopstix.