On Tuesday the weather forecast for Wednesday was sun and clear skies up until lunchtime and then sunny intervals for the afternoon. Sunny intervals can be anything from one quick flash of sun in the whole afternoon to frequent sunny spells. However I planned to be indoors for most of the afternoon so that didn't matter. I decided to go.

Amanda wasn't coming this time because she had a dental appointment and wasn't particularly interested in some of the venues I was planning to visit.

When I left for the railway station I made allowances for some minor traffic hold-ups. There weren't any! So I arrived at the station much too early which, as it happened, turned out to be a boon.

When I went into the ticket office I discovered it was shut. The shutter was down and padlocked. Nothing to say why. I went around the corner to the automatic ticket vending machine to find an extraordinarily long queue. One look told me I'd be very lucky to get my ticket in time to catch the train.

I joined the queue which was moving very slowly and, as we got nearer my trains departure time, I heard an announcement over the station speaker system that said the train was running 10 minutes late so there was still hope. I did get my ticket and got onto the platform just in time to see the train appear in the distance which then pulled in a few minutes later.

Missing that train wouldn't have been a disaster but it would have chopped 30 minutes off my day.

I arrived at London Liverpool Street Station around 10:30 and went out into Bishopsgate and turned left. A little way along Bishopsgate I turned right into Middlesex Street. Middlesex Street, as you probably know, used to be called Petticoat Lane and the market there is still known as Petticoat Lane Market but the name was too much for the prudish Victorians who thought that streets shouldn't refer to undergarments and so changed it.

A short way along Middlesex Street I forked left along Widegate Street which brought me to one end of Artillery Passage; my first 'target' of the day. The sun is shining brightly off to the right but there isn't going to be much sunlight in this narrow passage.


I walked through and out into Artillery Lane, on to White's Row, across the busy Commercial Street and into Fashion Street. I was now in my next target area – Spitalfields/Shoreditch – and I was looking for 'Street Art'. This is becoming very popular with tourists looking for something different from the usual run of things and there are walking tours which go for the street art. I did come across one of these tour groups whilst I was walking around.

This was one of the artworks that I first saw.

I continued along Fashion Street and emerged into Brick Lane. I had heard that Brick Lane was known for its Curry Houses and I must admit that I have never seen so many Indian Restaurants in one street. Unfortunately I had also heard that most of them are overpriced and mediocre. I haven't been in to any of them so I cannot say if that is true or not.

Continuing north along Brick Lane I soon arrived at Hanbury Street and turning east into Hanbury Street I found this:

Someone has a vivid imagination.

I saw quite a varied selection of these artworks more of which will appear on the main web site in due course.

I went back into Brick Lane and crossed over into the western part of Hanbury Street which brought me to Spitalfields Market. We did visit Spitalfields Market on our last trip to this area but there were some large empty areas with hoarding around them. However, this time, there were lots more stalls.

You want stalls? We can do stalls!


After look round I made my way into Bishops Square and thence into Folgate Street to see Dennis Severs House at number 18.

Dennis Sever was an artist who lived in this house in much the same way as the original Huguenot occupants might have done in the early 18th century. It is not open every day so you should check their web site before you go. It wasn't open when I was there but then I hadn't intended to go inside.

I walked to the western end of Folgate Street and turned right towards Shoreditch High Street, which is effectively an extension of Bishopsgate, where I intended to catch a No. 8 bus to High Holborn near Tottenham Court Road underground station. I arrived after a 30 minute ride and headed south down Shaftesbury Avenue. After a short distance I reached a 3-way split. Fork left for Neal Street, fork right for Shaftesbury Avenue and the straight on, my intended route, for Monmouth Street.

This brought me, very quickly, to Seven Dials. I visited Seven Dials once before but was unable to take a good photograph of the monument because it was surrounded by hoarding as it was being cleaned. So I rectified that.

You should be able to see three of the seven roads that converge here and you should also be able to see the cloud appearing which now doesn't matter as I've done most of the exterior photographs that I had planned.

Now it's time for lunch so I walked off along the eastern part of Earlham Street towards Cucumber Alley. I was heading for the Euphorium Bakery in the basement of the Thomas Neal's Centre who provide sandwiches, cakes and hot and cold drinks in modern pleasant surroundings. I had a nice sandwich and coffee but certainly not cheap at £5 for the sandwich and £2 for the coffee.

Now that I was re-fortified I headed up Bloomsbury Street and then Gower Street just north of the British Museum. I was first planning to visit the Grant Museum of Zoology at the junction of Gower Street and University Street.

The Grant Museum of Zoology is the only remaining university zoological museum in London and houses around 67,000 specimens, covering the whole Animal Kingdom. The museum consists of just one large gallery.

There are numerous cases so most of the specimens are relatively small.This jar of pickled (preserved) moles illustrates the point.

Why would someone want a jar of preserved moles? Ah, well, I'm glad you asked that question because I can tell you the answer. As this is a teaching establishment it was the case that many years ago students had to learn dissection in order to observe how animals were constructed so numerous specimens of particular species were required. Hence the jar of moles that were never used for their intended purpose. I also remember seeing a similar jar of lizards.

Some of the specimens were, shall we say, a little bizarre.


However all of the specimens were interesting. Being a half-term holiday for schools it was obviously interesting for children.

Being fairly well preserved I thought I fitted in rather nicely. It was, however, time to move on to the Petrie Museum of Archaeology nearby. This museum houses an estimated 80,000 objects, making it one of the greatest collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology in the world. It illustrates life in the Nile Valley from prehistory through the time of the pharaohs, the Ptolemaic, Roman and Coptic periods to the Islamic period.

 William Flinders Petrie (1853-1942) excavated literally dozens of sites and most of these specimens are the result of that work.

There are a number of galleries with many cases of artifacts.



One could be driven potty in here.

More pictures in this museum and of the Grant Museum will, eventually, appear on the main web site.

That was the end of what I thought was an interesting day and all I needed to do was to get myself home without incident. Yes I did manage that.