Estate pub located at the south west corner of Clissold Park, in the infamous Stoke Newington/Highbury border country. Comfy decor – wallpaper is William Morris on LSD, carpet a distracting jumble of unrelated motifs and patterns. Guinness is good and not too expensive. Local dads sit glancing at the fotoball on the big screen and keeping an eye on their kids, who are allowed to dance and sing and chat up the barmaids. Old photos of the Arsenal on the walls, including what looks like a detailed monochrome study of Cliff Bastin’s false teeth.
As I was flicking through the Stoke Newington OS map from 1868 (it’s a gripping read) I noticed that, north of the avenue and embankment that was once the New River, was a stone. No other explanation. Just “stone”. Was it a milestone, like the one on the bend of the New River near St Mary’s church? Maybe this is the same stone and it was moved into an enclosed area for safe keeping. Or was the “stone” something else, something older still? Like a neolithic marker which, though long gone, still gives off a strange magnetic pull that attracts summertime frisbee throwers and the Turkish football team (it’s near the spot where they do their windsprints).
A Hackney Brook walk around to the new Arsenal stadium to gawp at some concrete and cranes then a quick sketching session (still can’t draw blackberries) in Gillespie Park with my dad. Actually, I didn’t know blackberries lasted so long into the Autumn.
The wetlands are dry, due to a leak caused no doubt by scuba diving vandals with harpoon guns, and part of the parkland is closed up for renovations. If only London could have more strange wild areas like this. Perhaps the mayor could pull down a couple of glass and concrete monsters in the city and create a new London International Centre for Blackberry Studies.