Turkey Street, Jack and Liam move to Bodrum
As prophesied by the oracle, Go Go Dragons has proved to be a huge hit with children and adults alike judging by the legions of buggies, brownies, cubs, dinkies and wrinklies, brats in caps and overheated parents following the Dragon Trail during the summer break. In all, there are 84 large legendary creatures huffing and puffing along the streets and 120 baby dragons sniffing around various window displays. It’s quite a trudge to get round them all. Here’s a sample that caught my eye. My personal favourite is Dragon Nelson.
On the day of the Lord Mayor’s Show last month, we took a circuitous route to the Forum, the party’s thumping epicentre. As we walked along Bethel Street, we stumbled across the Old Skating Rink, a barn of building set back from the road. Liam was curious.
Let’s take a look inside.
So we did and this is what we found.
Built for roller skating in 1876, the listed building is now an Aladdin’s cave of oriental rugs, textiles, traditional and antique furniture, ceramics, wood carvings, accessories and decorative objects – all directly imported from Asian regions extending from Anatolia to Java. Part-shop, part-museum, the owner, Country and Eastern, is doing its bit to help to keep traditional skills alive by supporting the South Asian Decorative Arts and Crafts Collection (SADACC) Trust.
Liam bought me a little brass cow bell. I placed it by the side of the bed. Now I can ring for service.
A big hand to insideoutinistanbul for the thoughtful review of Turkey Street. I’m chuffed!
Close to the heart of Norwich, adjacent to the Catholic Cathedral, lies a hidden garden tumbling into a former chalk quarry. The Plantation Garden was a labour of love for one Henry Trevor, a prosperous Victorian cabinet maker. For forty years, eccentric Henry lavished time, effort and considerable money on his enchanted folly. But by the Second World War, it had been abandoned and almost forgotten. That was until a dedicated group of volunteers rolled up their sleeves, hacked away the weeds and restored the garden to its former ornamental glory. Today, the lush shrubbery plays host to jazz picnics, open air film screenings and vintage fairs. But most days, it’s a tranquil haven from the city that surrounds it. Henry may have been bonkers but his legacy is rather magical.
Helen McDermott is a radio and TV presenter who, back in the day, was one of the most popular faces on Anglia TV, the local commercial television franchise-holder in these parts. These days she keeps her hand in by presenting at Mustard TV, a local community station. Recently, though, Helen hit the national headlines by calling her fellow presenter a naughty name – a really naughty name, in fact the naughtiest of names – after he referred to her as a relic. The gaff didn’t end up of the cutting room floor. Oh no. It was aired and before the watershed, too. But as only one man and his flock actually watch Mustard TV, who would ever know? The tabloids, that’s who. But did she actually say it? You be judge (or change channel, if you’re easily offended).
Thank you to the multi-talented Mark Gracey who suggested this post one night over a sweet sherry.
At the arse end of another weekend in the Smoke, we found ourselves with time on our hands at Liverpool Street Station. Liam’s bright idea to kill time was a detour to Old Spitalfields Market for a browse and a bite. I say ‘old’ but Spitalfields has been relentlessly gentrified since its heyday as an East End fruit and faggots emporium. Apples and pears have given way to arts and crafts, jellied eels to corporate fare. The place was heaving and the tourists lapped up the fake authenticity. There was a surprise round every corner and this was the biggest surprise of all. It was mesmerising.
The Gay Pride marching season is in full mincing swing. But while 40,000 and 160,000 well-wishers lined the parade routes of Belfast and Brighton (respectively) last Saturday, we amused ourselves with something to give even the glitziest of drag queens a run for her sling backs. The Grand Norwich Duck Race, starring oversized bathtub playthings draped in outrageous livery, is a plucky battle fought each year for charity. Once in the waters of the sedate River Wensum, Daffy and his flock all tried to float the wrong way and had to be marshalled up the course by a man in a canoe. Congratulations to the duck from City College for a worthy victory. We retired to the bar of the Playhouse Theatre for a celebratory tipple in the beer garden. Norwich really is quackers.
The inimitable Cilla Black has just died at the young age of 72 at her home in Spain. It’s a sad day. I grew up with Cilla (née Priscilla White) from her glory days as Britain’s premier power balladeer in the Swinging Sixties to her reign as undisputed queen of Saturday night TV in the Eighties with programmes like Blind Date. So I do hope when Cilla pitched up at the Pearly Gates, St Peter asked:
What’s your name and where do you come from?
I think Our Cilla would have liked that.