don't you guys do anything but eat?

I'm in Paris now, but I want to deal with a question that my friend WMM (Wendy from the Woods) asked before I pick up the pace... Wendy inquired if we'd be doing any sightseeing this trip. This is a very polite way of saying "Good grief, don't you people do anything but eat?" Well, yes, there is stuff I do on these trips, but it's not blog-appropriate. It's beyond boring. Stopped into wine merchant and ran into old friend A who didn't have much to say but agreed he could be better about keeping in touch. Then it rained. Looked over list of West End shows, decided not to spend money on another tired Broadway revival. Walked through Green Park, looked at ducks, flowers, shrubbery. Chatted about weather with total strangers. Rode on busses - they are still red. BTW, the original London Bridge was sold to developers years ago and was reassembled over a man-made lake in Arizona, and the crown jewels on exhibit in the Tower are reproductions.  I will never tire of London, but lately I'm entranced by people and neighborhoods, although I'll never turn down an invitation to sit in the visitors' gallery at Question Time.
Here's a report on a neighborhood you might not have visited.

A favorite place to poke around is the Vauxhall Road location of Lassco. This is where you go if you need a stained glass window or an old fireplace or overmantel, or gothic furniture or garden statues or door handles or pub fixtures. So imagine my delight when I learned they'd opened on the south side of the river, way way east. And on Saturdays, they open their premises to a gourmet street market and set up tables and chairs among the antique plumbing fixtures.

a most un-English sandwich - yes, that's pulled pork.

a land where dogs sit patiently outside even impromptu pubs...

imagine coming across these exquisite pastries at the entry to the lumber yard - Lassco also sells old "reclaimed" wood flooring and window sills.

Time to move on - Himself has always wondered what might have happened had he taken up swashbuckling. But just as much piracy happens at quiet desks and corner tables...

Bridal nerves outside Southwark Cathedral, mom was right, you never know who's looking....

Well, I was happy with the impromptu feel of the tiny Abby Street (please note, not Abbey Road) market, but Himself wanted to press on to Borough Market, which is bigger and more crowded every time I'm there.

We sat under a fascinating shelter from the drizzle - several dozen umbrellas hanging in the air.

When the sun appeared, the umbrellas provided shade.

The former Menier Chocolate Factory is now the home of an art gallery and a theatre.

The production of Travels with my Aunt was energetic, witty and charming. Four male actors played all of the parts.

Did I mention the former Chocolate Factory also houses a pub?

London was getting ready for the official celebration of the Queen's official birthday.

Unofficially the World Naked Bike Ride was just wrapping up.

So, no, didn't queue at museums or monuments, but had a lovely day. That was Saturday. I have refrained from mentioning Friday's lunch. But I might if anyone's curious.


  1. I want to hear about Friday's lunch please?
    I'm loving your pics and commentary on LOndon very, very much. It is, however, making me very, very homesick.
    Do you find London more expensive than NYC?
    I'm always intrigued to hear food comparisons between cities/countries from fellow food-obsessed people.
    My feeling last time I was home in London is taut it has really upped its game. What do you think?

    And, I can't believe that people would waste good eating time on sightseeing! Shocking!

    1. Hi, Ruth. in order:
      (1) We went back to Gordon Ramsey and ate all the stuff we hadn't gotten to try Wednesday night. Here I will say that the flagship restaurant is nothing like Gordon's TV personality, they are warm, welcoming, helpful and enthusiastic.

      (2) Gawd, yes, even with refund of VAT where available.

      (3) I've always loved London for the kinds of ethnic food we don't get much of in NYC. In the past 7 or 8 years, across the board, the good restaurants have become better, sourcing of product, preparations, calibre of service... You can still find the Great British Awful if you try, but I think it's fair to say one of the reasons we go to London is to eat.

  2. Oh you have made my day! I wanted pics, pics, pics! I love your trips, Fred - you do the most interesting things when you are there and I always think "hey I will do that TOO when I get there.." Lassco has been added to that list! And the markets and the old chocolate factory!

    Don't you love to stumble on a wedding? That happened to us a couple of years ago in Quebec City; it was wonderful. We stood and clapped as the bride and groom came out. I am of the firm opinion that the newly married need all the encouragement we can provide them!

    But... did enjoy the pic of the pulled pork sandwich... :-)

    1. Thanks, Wendy, one of the most interesting weddings we fell into was in a small church in the Lot area of France. The daughter of (apparently) the local lord of the manor was having her church ceremony just as we were looking for a cool place to sit down. The entire village was there. V. dressed up bridal party, including pages. Then there was a procession by auto through the little town, which we joined. The lead car was a decorated VW bug with a very large broom strapped to its front, lots of ribbons in bridal-party colors...

    2. I love coming across weddings while on holidays. Very cool to see what others do (and wear!)

  3. Lassco provided the marble fireplaces in my old house. I love Borough Market, so many temptations. It's great to just wander at will and see stuff other than the expected touristy menu of museums and shows. I miss London.

    1. Hi, Sulky, is that a great enterprise or what!

  4. OMG, the buses are still red?? And I had no idea the original London Bridge is now in Arizona. Is nothing sacred anymore? Love your pics. It's so fun to travel with you.

    1. hi, Jennifer, thank you!

      re London Bridge, you might find this amusing.

  5. Great photos! Thanks for sharing.

    I'm not fussy. I want to see photos of everything: food, people, streets, or whatever might strike your fancy to photograph. :D

  6. Oh, MLane could perhaps be left at Lassco for a couple days while I seek out gardens and the like? Everything in my house is salvage or flea market with the occasional "real" antique. Sounds divine.

    Always up for food descriptions here; I may make Patricia Well's cherry tart this weekend. Do you know anyone who's taken her cooking class in Paris or Provence?

    Charming to come upon a wedding like that.

  7. funny you should ask, it was "London Open Garden" week when we were there, but not e Rey space was open every day, and many of the most interesting had been booked solid for weeks before the actual event,so we didn't get to tour the garden of 10 Downi g Street...

    I love PW's recipes, just enough detail. Don't know anyone who's taken any of her courses, but we do know a couple who spent a "cookery week" or maybe a weekend, at Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons with Raymond Blanc. They took copious notes, and upon their return, cooked the dinner they'd done at les QS, for about 10 guests including us. Unfortunately their notes were quite often in conflict so food did not reach the table until after midnight, when the guests were far too sizzled to appreciate the intellectual perfection of it all. I have no memory of what I ate that night, and for me, that's really saying something.

  8. Gorgeous food and gorgeous sights. (mushroom are my absolute faves) Truthfully I am most interested in food - it never gets old. I always assume that people that people do all the sights - I'm a huge crosser-offer of all the tourists traps and sights , but I find folk back home just want to hear about the tucker and grog and what went wrong ...and of course its so nice to oblige in that direction. There is something so so happy making about umbrellas!!!!

  9. I'm always freezing in Lassco but it's a great place, I loved these pictures of your wanderings. Just tasted pulled pork for the first time last year, it's amazing.

  10. I love perusing your pictures, and I am fascinated by your food pictures. The umbrellas are perfection, as is the bridal shot- groom or unhappy party planner?

  11. Oh please don't stop, I have to live vicariously through your travels. I want that pulled pork sandwich and pastries NOW. It's not that I won't eat, it's that husby is not very adventurous and I don't get out much.

    Come over and visit and you'll see what I mean. ;)


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