The Anonymous Widower

Face Coverings Your Choice

In England from today, you don’t legally have to wear masks.

This notice was on the door of Marks and Spencer at The Angel.

These are the words at the bottom.

Face coverings are not legally required but the Government recommends them in indoor crowded areas. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 please refrain from entering the store.

How sensible!

It will be interesting to analyse the takings of Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Sainsburys as they are all close together on Liverpool Road.

I was standing outside Marks & Spencer, when I took the picture.

 

January 27, 2022 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Levelling Up – The Marks & Spencer Way

When I first moved to Dalston, there were three convenient Marks and Spencer stores within a few bus stops.

 

  • Angel, which is a basically a food store with a floor of clothes above, where my grandmother used to shop before the First World and C and I used to shop in the 1970s, when we lived in the Barbican.
  • Moorgate, which is a small department store, with a medium-sized food department in the basement, which I use regularly.
  • Hackney, which was a very small department store with a poor food department, was convenient as on some of my journeys, I would get a bus home  from outside the store.

Over the last ten years, more Marks and Spencer stores have sprung up, Archway, Camden Town, Dalston, Eastfield, Hampstead, Liverpool Street, Old Street and West Hampstead, which I use occasionally, as they are on routes home.

This morning I went to the eye hospital in Colindale and coming home, I got a 32 bus to Brondesbury for the Overground.

As I needed some food, I had various choices of journey home.

  • Get off at West Hampstead and do my shopping there, and then get back on the train.
  • Get off at Hampstead Heath and do my shopping there, with a light lunch in le Pain Quotidien.
  • Get off at Dalston Kingsland and do my shopping there, with a bus home.
  • Get off at Hackney Central and do my shopping there, with a bus home.

Unusually, I chose the last option and got a big surprise.

I had been worried that Marks and Spencer in Hackney would close, but now it has been turned into the most upmarket Marks and Spencer food store, I’ve ever seen.

  • It’s more Knightsbridge. than Hackney
  • It’s large and spacious.
  • There are large ranges of tea and coffee, that you normally don’t see in the store.
  • The decor is localised to the store.
  • It is only about a hundred metres from Hackney Central station and fifty metres on the flat from my bus home.
  • It’s even just called Marks & Spencer Food

Now that’s what I call levelling up!

 

December 13, 2021 Posted by | Design, Food, Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Responsible Shopping At The Angel

This pop-up shop has appeared at The Angel.

This is the web site.

December 11, 2021 Posted by | World | , , , | Leave a comment

Street Burger – Islington

Regularly in pre-pandemic times, I would go to Carluccio’s at The Angel in Islington for a quick lunch after doing my shopping on a Saturday.

But unfortunately, Carluccio’s is no more!

Now there is a Street Burger by Gordon Ramsay between Marks and Spencer and one of the bus stops, from where I can get a bus home.

Before I continue, I should say I have form with Gordon Ramsay, as I once talked to him on Radio 5 about gluten-free food in a restaurant.

He said that if you book at least 24 hours before and say you want a gluten-free meal, the restaurant has no excuse for not giving you what you need.

He also said that if they think they’re a good restaurant and can’t offer gluten-free food, then they’re not a good restaurant.

Since then, I’ve eaten a couple of times in his upmarket restaurants and he’s not broken his own rules.

Today, I broke his rule, by just turning up. But I did know, they did gluten-free options.

Note.

  1. I forgot to take a picture of the burger before I started to eat it.
  2. The decor is simple and practical.
  3. What car did the seats come from?
  4. You can have as much soft drink as you like.

The pictures don’t do the meal justice, which was upmarket for a burger.

I shall use the restaurant more often, as it’s so conveniently placed, close to Angel tube station, which is one of my routes  home.

October 23, 2021 Posted by | Food | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Chaos In The Balls Pond Road

This article in The Times is called High Court Deals Blow To Expansion Of Cycle Lanes And Wider Pavements.

This was the first paragraph.

Road closures designed to boost walking and cycling could face legal challenges after a judge declared that a big expansion of the plans was “unlawful”.

A challenge to the often ill-thought out improvements from black-cab drovers has been successful.

My experience, yesterday, summed up my inconvenience with such a scheme.

yaxiI actually, think that matters are being made worse by some of the designs and planning by the Council Clowns.

A big scheme is being undertaken around the Balls Pond Road to bring in a cycleway between Tottenham and the City. In Hackney, it looks like it will improve walking and calm the traffic in residential areas as well.

I had a serious stroke ten years and my eyesight was ruined enough, so that I couldn’t drive, so I rely heavily on buses to get around.

On Tuesday, I needed to go to the Angel to pick up a prescription. On arriving at the junction of Balls Pond Road and Southgate Road, I found that one of Islington’s Idiots had planned to dig up the junction and all four bus stops were closed. The traffic was so jammed as well, that there weren’t even any stray black cabs stoating about!

In the end, I walked to the next bus stop. This was not easy, as the lock-down has ruined my feet and they were painful.

But I got a bus to the Angel and after a bit of food shopping, I looked for a taxi to come home.

But another branch of Clowns and Idiots Ltd. has closed the taxi rank, so I had to resort to the bus, which got stuck in another set of jams caused by Thames Water at one of their well-used Party Places.

I did find a black cab, but he was unable to take me home, as the area was gridlocked. So he said give him a tenner and walk. As this was less than what was on the meter, I complied!

I laid down the principles of project planning using small computers in the 1970s.

Obviously, My ideas have fallen on deaf ears in Islington Council.

January 21, 2021 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Statue Without Explanation In Islington

Every time I go between my house and the Angel, I pass this statue on Islington Green.

It is of Sir Hugh Myddelton, who was very much a hero to generations of North Londoners prior to the Second World War.

Wikipedia introduces him like this.

Sir Hugh Myddelton (or Middleton), 1st Baronet (1560 – 10 December 1631) was a Welsh clothmaker, entrepreneur, mine-owner, goldsmith, banker and self-taught engineer. The spelling of his name is inconsistently reproduced, but Myddelton appears to be the earliest, and most consistently used in place names associated with him.

So why did my parents and others, born in the early years of the twentieth century, hold Myddelton in such high esteem?

Both my parents were born close to his most famous creation; the New River. Wikipedia explains his part in the project.

Myddelton is, however, best remembered as the driving force behind the construction of the New River, an ambitious engineering project to bring clean water from the River Lea, near Ware, in Hertfordshire to New River Head in Clerkenwell, London. After the initial project encountered financial difficulties, Myddelton helped fund the project through to completion, obtaining the assistance of King James I.

I do wonder, if the generation of my parents felt affectionately about the New River because in their first few decades, it was probably the source of most of the water they drunk and used for cooking and washing.

Wikipedia doesn’t give any clue to the character of Myddelton, but I’m sure that in today’s climate, some would find him not worthy of having a statue in such a prominent place.

I do feel though, that the statue needs a display to fill out the story of a man, who did so much for London over four hundred years ago and is still benefiting from his creation.

June 15, 2020 Posted by | World | , , , , , | 1 Comment

My Ruined Saturday Mornings!

Since, I moved to Dalston in 2010, my Saturday morning routine has been something like this.

  • Take a 30 Bus to St. Mary’s Church.
  • Visit the Carluccio’s and have a gluten-free breakfast, like a full English or an eggs benedict.
  • Visit Waitrose for half my shopping.
  • Visit Marks and Spencer for my gluten-free shopping.

But things have changed.

Egyptian Buses On Route 30

A few weeks ago, new buses started on route 30.

I don’t use them, except as a last resort.

They were built in Egypt. Now, I’ve nothing against Egyptians or their country, but we make very good buses in this country and we should have British buses for British bottoms!

The new company running the route seems to not provide the same frequency anyway, so catching a 30 bus, would often involve a longer wait.

Carluccio’s Has Closed

But the need to take a 30 bus decreased, a few weeks ago, when Carluccio’s in Islington closed.

As there is no other place in Islington to get a quick gluten-free breakfast, that put a big hole in my Saturday mornings. I could go to Bill’s or Cote, but they take a lot longer and are much more expensive.

Waitrose

Waitrose too, are annoying me.

They have redone their self-service tills and they are useless for my way of shopping.

I have a large reusable M & S bag, that folds into my man-bag and although it was fine for their original tills, it’s too big for their new tills.

So to shop in Waitrose, I put the bag in the trolley, load my purchases onto the till without a bag and then after payment move them into my shopping bag. How inefficient is that?

I now limit my purchases at Waitrose by using the much-more customer friendly Sainsburys next door.

Anyway, Sainsburys have a much better gluten-free selection, than the terrible range in Waitrose, where no care is taken to make ranges of foods like sausages and burgers gluten-free.

In fact, I wouldn’t trust Waitrose on their allergen philosophy. The labelling might be correct, but it’s all about how different product types and ranges are handled.

You wouldn’t shop in Waitrose if you were a family with one member who was coeliac or gluten-free!

Marks And Spencer

Marks and Spencer at the Angel carry on as normal, as they have done since my paternal grandmother shopped there ibefore the First World War and, when C and I used to shop there in the 1970s.

But they have competition in that I am ringed by others of their stores in Dalston, Finsbury Pavement, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street and London Bridge.

Yesterday, I ate breakfast in Leon at Kings Cross and then roamed the shops before doing my Saturday shopping in their Finsbury Pavement store. That one is now opening on Saturdays and I can get two buses directly from the store to the zebra crossing by my house.

Conclusion

All of these factors are combining to make me use Islington less.

What the Angel needs is a Leon, so I can have a fast gluten-free breakfast on the go.

One of the great things about breakfast in Leon, is that there is often time and space to layout your tabloid-sized newspaper and eat a leisurely breakfast.

 

November 18, 2018 Posted by | Food, World | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Courtesy On London Buses

Today, a 30 bus was at the stop that takes me on my way in the morning. Especially, if like today, I was tryibg to get to the Angel  I say trying, as Thanes Water are having a big construction party as they try to sort out the water mains on Upper Street. Normally, I have three routes that I can take. But due to the works, only the 30 is a sensible option, as the others go  via Silicon Roundabout.

Courtesy 1 – The driver was about to leave as I approached, but he saw me coming and waited.

Courtesy 2 – The bus was pretty full with the only one empty seat for persons of restricted mobility. So I had one of those non-arguments with a pregnant lady about who would not have the seat. On seeing a vacant seat towards the back of the bus, I walked past and she eventually sat down. You see these after you situations a lot. The funniest, I saw was when an elderly Orthodox Jew and a black lady about twenty, delayed a bus whilst they decided who got on first. So charming!

Courtesy 3 – The seat I went for had a lady’s bag on it, but she quickly removed it, when she saw I was coming for the seat.

Courtesy 4 – At Highbury Grove a guy pushing a lady in a wheelchair needed to get on! As the ramp descended a guy who’d parked his baby in a buggy in the space made a quick exit, to allow the wheelchair to be parked.

Courtesy 5 – At the next stop, a lady with a buggy and two other children,  needed to get on, but after other passengers told her the wheelchair space was occupied, she moved on.

London buses are generally friendly places and people often talk to each other.

I’ve actually never seen an argument over the wheelchair space in London.

I do wonder if this courtesy is helped, by London’s bus design, which always has a separate entrance and exit. The exit doubles as the wheelchair entrance.

August 28, 2017 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , , , | 2 Comments

In And Out Of The Angel

The area around Angel tube station, is one I visit regularly.

 

  • I shop in the same Marks and Spencer, Boots and Woolworths, that my grandmother used before the Great War.
  • Woolworths is now Waitrose.
  • I visit Chapel Market, as she probably did.
  • I often walk close to where my father was born and past the church where my grandparents married.
  • Perhaps, once a week, I’ll buy myself lunch or dinner in the area.
  • I regularly, use the area to change buses or get on and off the Northern Line.

It’s also an area of memories of life with C and the children around 1970, when we lived in the Barbican and we’d regularly walk up the hill with the children to shop at Marks and Spencer.

But not at the moment. This article on the BBC is entitled Angel Islington flooded by water main burst.

These are pictures I took of the traffic. Or lack of it!

 

There are no buses from Dalston to the Angel, so the only way to go is to go South to Old Street or Moorgate stations and then get the Northern Line up to the Angel.

At least the buses are running the other way, so I can get home easily.

It is a pain, but it will be sorted.

Yesterday, I had to get to Boots to pick up my Warfarin and the pharmacist did as usual, ask me for my yellow book.

I don’t have one, as I see the GP every three months or so, have a chat about my INR and he writes a prescription, which is electronically sent to Boots for me to collect.

To show how stable my INR level is, I’ve now been on 4 mg. a day of Warfarin for over three years now.

Discussing this with the pharamacist, I told her, I put this stability down to being a coeliac on a gluten-free diet.

There are some hints at research in this area at eminent Universities, but with my experience, it seems that if you are on Warfarin, a gluten-free dietmay help to stabilise your INR levels.

 

December 10, 2016 Posted by | Health, Transport/Travel | , , | Leave a comment

Crossrail 2 And The Angel

My Crossrail alert picked up this article in the Islington Tribune entitled Angel’s landmark Co-op building could go if £20bn Crossrail scheme goes ahead. The article says this.

Cllr Klute, an architect who has studied the plans in detail, said he was concerned that all the buildings on the west side of Upper Street from Angel tube to White Lion Street could be demolished.

The building on the corner might be iconic, as the article says, but it is one of those buildings which probably doesn’t have the dimensions that fit the sort of high-tech businesses, that are being attracted to this area of London and will hopefully come even more, when Crossrail 2 opens. I took these pictures of the area.

The four corners of the Angel junction have.

  • The Co-op building or Angel Corner House that Councillor Klute wants to save at the north west.
  • The Angel Building which was short-listed for the Stirling Prize in 2011 at the south west.
  • Some rather tired low rise buildings at the south east.
  • The offices over Angel tube station which was built in the early 1990s at the north east.

I can remember when I lived in London in the 1970s, that there were plans to create a large roundabout here to solve the traffic problems. Obviously you wouldn’t do that now, as it would create all sorts of probems about how to fit in the Crossrail 2 station.

As you can see in the pictures, the buses from Kings Cross cause problems as they turn out left from White Lion Street to go North. Not perhaps today, but the buses do cause problems on days when there is more traffic around.

There is just not enough space in the area to accommodate all of the traffic and the expanded station.

The pressing need is a left turn somewhere to get the buses from Kings Cross onto Upper Street and Essex Road, so the only way is to cut the corner through the Angel Corner Building that Councillor Klute wants to save.

As someone, who catches buses at the Angel to go down the Essex Road, the bottleneck at White Lion Street often means that buses come through rather sporadically.

An improved bus service would mean that I probably spent more of my shopping time at the Angel.

So how will Crossrail 2 affect those who currently get the 38, 56,73 and other buses to the Angel and beyond?

1. Between the Angel and Victoria, Crossrail 2 will take passengers from both the 38 and 73.

2. between the Angel and Seven Sisters, Crossrail 2 will take passengers from the 73.

3. Hopefully as both Kings Cross and Euston will be on Crossrail 2, the need for buses between Kings Cross and the Angel will be greatly reduced.

Looking at that, it says to my simple mind, that building Crossrail 2, might mean that there is less need to demolish the Angel Corner Building, as it might be possible to eliminate the left turn of buses, which creates such a problem.

If the space at the Angel and the buses turning north are one of the problems, then the bizarre design of the new station at the Angel in the early 1990s is another.

Plans for Crossrail 2 in the 1980s went via Angel and Essex Road from Kings Cross to Dalston. A few years later the 1990s route went via Highbury and Islington only.

So was the bizarre layout of Angel tube station down to this uncertainty? Who’d be an architect, when politicians keep changing their minds?

The article also says this.

Cllr Klute said if there is going to be a rail development he’d rather see a tube line running along the Hackney to Chelsea section. “It would probably be cheaper and a lot less disruptive and damaging,” he said. “It could also take in Essex Road and Old Street, which is less well connected.

“A tube train would also be of more use to Londoners. The fact that they want to run regional trains across Islington seems to suggest that they are more interested in shipping ­people from outside London rather than moving people around the capital.”

On the first point it would be madness to bore a tube line from Chelsea to Hackney, as you’d then have to build terminal stations at both ends to turnback the tube trains.

We already have two two different fleets being built for the new lines under London, with Class 700 trains for Thameslink and Class 345 trains for Crossrail. Engineering, operational, economic and political common sense, says that these two trains should have been virtually identical and made in Derby by Bombardier. Logic says that if Crossrail and Crossrail 2 trains are identical, then there should be cost and time savings in both train manufacture of the trains and design and building of the stations.

I would think from reading the second of Councillor Klute statements about regional trains, he tends to have thoughts that would be very much at home in UKIP.

Crossrail 2 isn’t perfect, but it will be needed in the late 2020s.

I think that by the time it is being built, improvements in construction, that in many cases are being used on Crossrail will be used to both save time and money, and build a better railway.

As a simple example, could the techniques used at Whitechapel enable Crossrail 2 stations to be built from the deep rail tunnels upwards, thus creating less disturbance to buildings on the surface.

Perhaps this would enable the Angel Corner Building  to be gutted and left as a shell, in which the escalators could emerge and the new western entrance to Angel station could be built.

So the Angel would have an iconic station entrance on the west side of the main north-south route through the Angel. Hopefully, the new extended station would include a much needed subway across the road.

January 1, 2015 Posted by | Transport/Travel | , | 1 Comment