New Year’s wander

A Happy New year to you all. It is 2nd January 2016 and we have entered a new year for the first time on this blog. In fact it will be coming up for a year of writing soon. I’m not sure how many people read this. We could probably all meet up for a party in one of the Barbican lifts. But that was never the point and the writing is for me more than anyone else.

The train ride up here was exciting. I came on the overground from Enfield again. A family get on an surround my seat. The young boy seems apprehensive. As we go he says “I thought Tube Trains went faster than this.” I don’t expect thy do. And anyway, our ex British Rail stock never enters a tube. We go further.

“Dad, why is White Hart Lane not near White Hart Lane” says the boy

“It is” says his Dad.”The Lane runs just there”

“Well why is the Stadium not near White Hart Lane and it’s called White Hart Lane?” He responds.

“It is” Says his Dad. “It’s just over there”

There is a pause.

“So why do loads of people come out of Seven Sisters station on Football day. It’s two stops away”

The Dad doesn’t say anything. The rest of the family don’t seem interested.

At Seven Sisters the train empties but only after the boys asks,

“Why does everyone get off at Seven Sisers, Dad?”

I wanted to shout that I was staying on but I resisted. Their place was taken by an older Asian guy swigging from a can of larger and his young companion who was rather glamorously dressed. I drifted in and out of the conversation, thinking it lucky that I could actually understand their conversation. Eaves dropping is getting a little difficult I Enfield.

“Yeah, My mum’s still having em’. She’s got eleven already. She likes big families.”

The fumes from his larger are reminding me of a pub carpet. He wants to go to the bank. She doesn’t like the bank since it put in computers. “The F****** queue goes right out the door”

They get off and the train is quiet. I notice someone as erected a dining ambience on the roof of one of the buildings along the track before Liverpool Street. Well a tarpaulins at least. Reminds me of Stratford bus station.

I’m in the Library now. It’s quiet. Like a Library should be. I think it is the interval of a concert in the Barbican Hall. The audience is elderly and I like to think that they have a discount on their tickets.

I’ve chosen a book on “Mrs Shufflewick” which seems quite random. Another name I seem to know, but I’m not sure why.

As I leave the Barbican it is starting to rain. I walk past the Greengrocers and a sign says it is closed for a few weeks. I like to think the owner is on holiday somewhere warm in the sun. At the end of the road I turn right in to Old Street. This is unchartered territory. I make a quick glance either side of the road as I walk, catching sight of a few things but there are more questions than answers. Over the Old Street roundabout until I eventually get to Shorditch Overground Station. Quite a walk. I make a resolution to come this way and explore more this year.



Baubles at Barbican station

Its a Monday 14th of December and term has finished. Three weeks of school holidays start here. I set off to Enfield Town station to try this route in to the Barbican. Enfield Trains are half hourly so it might not be good despite being direct. There are two trains in the platforms so I plump for the usual one. There is an air of promise now that the Overground has taken over the route. More trains and better trains. But not yet.

The journey is different and I’m noticing the unusual roofs of the shops that line the track. A woman is leaning out of the window to watch the train. I guess that passes for excitement around here.

I dash through the barriers at Liverpool Street and re-enter the  tube. This is quite liberating now as you don’t have to pay any more now that the Enfield line is part of the tube network. About time too.

On arrival at Barbican station, via a Met Line Train (I am being daring) I notice the trees on the dis-used platform are decorated for christmas with large baubles. Very festive. I’m reminded how this blog has seen the year round nearly. Perhaps I should plan an anniversary event.

The library is open longer today and I don’t feel in such a rush. Not that I have ever been here as it has closed. But somehow there is always the feeling that it might. A year on, I still feel this is the most remarkable library I have used in London. I started out coming to borrow the sheet music. I have discovered the London Collection and now borrow the audio books from the vast collection. All for free. Barbican Library is how all Libraries should be.

A plonk on a piano reminds me that the concert hall is just below. Only once, have I been here at the time of a concert. Maybe in the new year. Now a baby is screaming. It’s time to move around and look for some books for the Christmas holidays.

The Launderette is busy as I pass by. There’s a couple of old ladies sitting doing their word searches. A bid sign shows the Christmas opening times. A cage of men ascends noisily along some scaffolding and them promptly descends before ascending again. Someone must have forgotten something. Or pushed the wrong button.


At the Greengrocers, I buy one of those Christmas plants with the orange cherries. The assistant served me while the owner sat watching out the back. There is no one else there in the shop and I’m optimistic that my purchase might help keep them open. I head along the Clerkenwell Road. My plan for the new year is to explore out the other way. Although, thinking of it, there is plenty still to discover along here. I pass the solicitors I took shelter at last time and try to find a nemonic to help remember the name. It doesn’t work.

I fancy some soup but Prets doesn’t have any I like. So I decide to look for Eat which I am sure is along here somewhere.  3 branches of Prets later and Eat still hasn’t appeared. By Holborn, I end up in the Golden Arches again. In the new year, I am determined to try out a small independent cafe each time I come up rather than a chain.

I’ve arrived at Tottenham Court Road station and the Central Line is stopping here again. I decide to explore. It has been shut to central line passengers for about a year while they prepare the new station for the coming of Crossrail. It seems a long way down to the Central Line platforms. It’s very white. Looks like a job lot of Wickes Tiles. No more mosaics. And I’m only going to Liverpool Street today for the journey home.

I’m reflecting on the year and the blog. I have written a post each time I come to the Barbican. Mostly, it is written while I am out. I’m not sure that anyone reads it. But that was not the intention. I have written it for me. And I like to think I have got a little better at it as I go along.

Merry Christmas, and may your bauble glisten like the ones at Barbican Station.