Waiting in the boneyard: Abney Park

Stamford Hill Motors is not the most romantic of destinations, but I always feel a frisson of excitement when I have to go there. I used to live nearby but no longer, so the annual MOT has become an excuse to visit one of my old North London haunts. It also gives me a legitimate reason to simply…

In between Norwood

The pervading spirit of some places hangs quite obviously in the air. Even if you’re only passing through and not looking very hard, the distinctive atmosphere will soon make itself apparent.

West Norwood isn’t one of those places.

Catching the last bus home

I’ve always found bus drivers to be rather surly to say the least. But conductors were always a little different. There was a fascinating Arena documentary on TV the other night, all about five different, famous – in their way – conductors on the much missed London Routemasters. One of them – Duke Bassie –…

One world, 7 billion different maps

Imagine a map that grew and shrank, advanced and retreated as we lived out our lives. This map wouldn’t simply chart every building, street and pavement encountered, this map would change according to the weight and resonance an individual gave to a place.

Landscapes, places and routes that meant more to you personally would be given greater prominence.

Equally places you had never visited, or didn’t care, for would shrink in relative size, or disappear altogether. This would be an emotional map, a map of the inner world as much the external one.

Along the Regent’s Canal – North London’s side entrance

The best way to approach London, according to Jonathan Raban at least, is from the north. You should drive down via Archway to take in the fabled Dick Whittington hillside view of the city and descend deeper within, until you reach the river Thames, where London’s full glory will hit you.

My own arrival was rather prosaic by comparison: a dull coach journey up the M4 from Bristol, which ended up amid the traffic at Hyde Park Corner