On Saturday I popped back into London to meet a friend and go to an exhibition. Mr K was working in central London so I grabbed a lift with him, meaning I was in town much earlier than I actually needed to be, but London is a wonderful place to be early on a morning as the city slowly wakes itself up for the day, that it didn’t really matter.
As I searched for a good café to have breakfast in, I spotted the plaque on St Mary’s hospital indicating the spot where Alexander Fleming accidentally discovered penicillin – it’s incredible to think what would have been without this chance finding.
I sat for a while and watched the world go by from the café window with all good intentions of continuing to sit quietly, possibly have another coffee and work on my Compostelle shawl. However, as I browsed through the London Review of Books I spotted an advert for a republished book by one of my favourite crime authors and all those good intentions went straight out of the café window and I found myself heading over to Bloomsbury to the London Review Bookshop.
There are some lovely independent shops all within less than a minutes walk of the British Museum, with the London Review Bookshop being one of them. Aside from all the blue literary plaques, there are lots of other interesting and quirky things to spot along the way, including the Pied Bull Yard clock:
As I arrived at the LRB they were having a problem with the lights and there was much discussion of where would be an appropriate place to hide the key for the key cupboard, as it seemed that somebody had managed to hide it a little too well! I found the book I came for, but will tell you more about that in a later blog post for the Year in Books, and there may have been an additional book which insisted on coming home with me too, although not another copy of Alice in Wonderland!
Next door to the LRB is the most amazing stamp shop called Bladerubber (best shop name ever!), which I mentioned in my Stationery Week post and was first introduced to by my friend Sam. They sell rubber stamps and inks for stamping with. Yes, an entire shop devoted to rubber stamps, and if you can’t find what you’re looking for then they will make one for you! For the letter writers and card markers amongst you, the importance of a good stamp is not to be underestimated for decorating envelopes and postcards and generally making a simple letter more personal and exciting to receive.
As I walked back to Tottenham Court Road to catch the bus, I passed by L. Corellisan & Son; Artist’s Colourmen, one of the most wonderful shops in London!
Established in 1855, you could believe you have stepped back in time as you enter the shop with its dark wood cabinets, cubby holes and drawers which hold an array of pigments, paints, inks and hard to find artist’s supplies.
I found what I think might be my perfect green;
Then stopped to admire the range of beautifully packaged calligraphy inks, making a promise to myself that if I practice my modern calligraphy daily, I can come back and treat myself to a bottle of their French Sepia ink.
Onward to Camden where I meet my friend and we head to the Jewish Museum to see the Judith Kerr exhibition which I’ll tell you all about later in the week!