Friday, January 09, 2009

Brick Lane

Yesterday I braved the fog and icy roads and headed for London for a book launch in Brick Lane. The directions we'd been given to the bookshop were straightforward, but she said it was only a 10 minute walk, it took us almost half an hour - I asked several other guests and regardless of age, size or stamina about half said it took 10 minutes the rest had taken as long as we had.
The route we took was through a part of London I didn't know, one shop looked as though it had been transported forward from the Regency, there was a narrow lane of 19th-century houses, all with the basement window from which the servants would have peered out into the peasouper. I was told we had travelled Jack the Ripper territory.
It was easy to imagine the streets cobbled, the pathways teeming with folk going about their daily business the noises, the smells, the air rich with shouts of the street vendors.
We passed a pub which appeared to have a 10 foot square table attached to an open serving hatch, we could see it was spread with food, it was hard to see in the dark exactly what was on the table. We decided we would come back in the summer, during daylight, and explore the area properly.
It was obvious why some of us took three times longer to reach our destination than others, we were the historical writers, they the more normal members of society.
Fenella Miller
The Ghosts at Neddingfield Hall - out now- available from and Amazon UK, also all good bookshops. Don't forgetyou can order it at your library as well.

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