London – fabric and friendship

I don’t visit the capital very often, but with Mr Snail in Reading (25 minutes away from London on the train) at the moment, it seems like an ideal opportunity to make a few trips in and do some of the things on my ‘list’ (not a real list – it’s just in my head).

The week before last I travelled down to Reading on Thursday so that, whilst Mr Snail was at work on Friday, I could go into London. I had two purposes: meeting up with a friend who I haven’t seen for over 20 years and visiting Berwick Street. I’m not sure whether you know the significance of this location, but I felt that it was important to go there without Mr Snail so as not to bore him to tears. You see, Berwick Street is known for its fabric shops.

Lovely Japanese waves

In the end I only had just over an hour to spend in Berwick Street and I could have spent the whole time in just one or two shops… one specialising in silks was full of such delicious fabric that I felt as if I needed a lie down before I could proceed. If I’d had more time I would have looked round, had a coffee to gather my thoughts and then gone back to make my purchases. However, in the limited time available I decided to visit as many shops as possible to get a flavour and so that I’d be better able to plan future visits. Finally, I only bought a length of Japanese cotton (in an indigo shade that the picture doesn’t do justice to) with which to make a dress, but I left with lots to think about for future makes.

After Berwick Street, there was a quick underground ride to Great Portland Street, where it turned out that neither me nor my friend have changed too much since we were in our 30s and so recognising each other was no problem. We went to Honey and Co, a lovely middle eastern restaurant that I can highly recommend… although you’ll need to book if you want to eat there because it’s very popular. There are some friends who you just feel comfortable with no matter how long it is since you saw each other, and so it was… the conversation flowed as we shared mezze, sipped orange blossom iced tea and then tucked into the most amazing feta & honey cheesecake on a kadaif pastry base. There are no photographs – we were far too busy eating and catching up on each other’s lives.

After lunch she took me on a quick tour of BBC Broadcasting House, where she works and I was lucky enough to be taken down into the newsroom – an extraordinary place full of people and technology collecting information from around the world. We criticise our state broadcaster sometimes, but the sheer scale of their news operation is something to be marvelled at, plus it was interesting to see the place for real rather than just on the television screen. A stroll up to Regent’s Park and a stop for tea and then it was back on the underground to return to Paddington to catch my train back to Reading. We agreed not to leave it another 20 years before our next get-together.

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14 Comments

  1. Oh my what a wonderful day out, fabric for a new frock, yummy food, an old friend and a trip to Aunty Beeb. I guess you are still on cloud nine.

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  2. Oooh, you prompted a huge jolt of nostalgia there, of Saturdays gone by rummaging through Beak Street and Berwick Street to find just the exact piece of fabric… The fabric shops and books shops are some of the very few things I miss about living in London. That indigo print is gorgeous, and I hope you’ll post the finished garment when the time comes.

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    • I was sorely tempted by some of the silk, but since I didn’t have a pattern in mind, I had no idea how much to buy. The piece I bought is for a dress that I got the pattern for a couple of months ago – a very simple A-line, with long sleeves. First, though, I need to finish the pinafore dress that’s 90% done.
      Next time I have a trip to London on my own, I plan to visit the Button Queen… I think that’s another place you like.

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  3. What a fabulous day. We hardly have any fabric shops here anymore–I have to shop on the internet for it, but wandering a fabric shop is one the few good experiences of shopping (bookstores being another). And old friends are the best, people who know you at your core and start the conversation right up, now. Thanks for the tour and what a lovely three-dimensional print your fabric has.

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  4. Sounds like a wonderful day. Next time, pictures!

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  5. Ann Pole

     /  November 24, 2019

    Sounds a lovey day out. The fabric is gorgeous, and ‘One cannot simply have too much fabric’! Looking forward to seeing what you will make from it.

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  6. That sounds like an awesome day! I’m glad you got to do both!

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  7. Sounds perfect, and given me a few pointers for my next trip to London.

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