Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dream Home

The Boycott Pavilions at Stowe - named after the vanished hamlet of Boycott (hopefully it wasn't disappeared to make the Pavilions, but one has to assume this is likely) and designed and constructed by James Gibbs in 1728-9 - flank the Oxford drive to the house. The original stone pyramidal roofs were altered in 1758 by Giovanni Battista Borra to the lead domes visible today. The Eastern Pavilion was converted into a three-storey house in the 1950s. How wonderful!

Stowe was praised in Alexander Pope's poem Epistle to Lord Burlington:

"...Still follow Sense, of ev'ry Art the Soul,
Parts answ'ring parts shall slide into a whole,
Spontaneous beauties all around advance,
Start ev'n from Difficulty, strike from Chance;
Nature shall join you, Time shall make it grow
A Work to wonder at--perhaps a STOWE.''

Friday, November 11, 2011

And we have a winner!

Every year around this time the big stores compete for the best seasonal ad in the run-up to Christmas - M&S pioneered the genre a few years ago but this year they seem to have gone off track a bit with their Xfactor tribute. Most big stores' ads are annoyingly hard sell efforts draped vestigially in Christmas tinsel but John Lewis has scored a real triumph with its 2011 contender - soo sweet it makes me want to cry!

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Brockwell Park Fireworks


the financial crisis hits the fireworks displays - fireworks on Clapham Common were cancelled this year, and instead Lambeth Council plans to rotate the displays annually through the borough's parks. Fireworks will return to the Common in 2013 (if there is any money left then). This year they were held in Brockwell Park.

Brockwell has the enchanting Art Deco Lido, with its wonderful cafe, and superb views to the city - a southern version of Hampstead and Primrose Hill. Unfortunately, it does not enjoy easy access to public transport - I wonder if the Council thought of this in its planning?

I left my house at 7:10 and waited 20 minutes for the 37 bus - which arrived full to overflowing. The driver did not open his doors. My bus stop on Long Rd was crowded with people clearly waiting for the 37 only. I decided to bail out on the bus and took the tube to Brixton. No need to follow directions on a map - a vast throng of people were walking from Brixton tube to Brockwell Park.

I finally made it to the Park just as the first fireworks were let off at 8pm. They were impressive as always; quite a lift to the spirit in these chilly November evenings.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Halloween has really taken off as an annual event and Claphamites celebrate it with gusto - here is my random selection of creepy ghouls and beasties prowling the clubs and bars of South London.