Thursday, 30 January 2014

London Life: A Saturday in Chelsea & Battersea

It's been a few months since I last had a proper London adventure. Before I started my job and, consequently, a new chapter in my life, I spent a few days in London, visiting the Natural History Museum, British Museum, L'Eto Cafe and Barrica Tapas Bar. Since then I have been swept along in the current of life, visiting friends and family both in the UK and in Denmark, and I don't feel that I've had a moment to breathe - let alone go back up to the Big Smoke for another wander around it's streets.

Last weekend I decided to meet my parent up there, halfway between our two homes, to meet with my cousin who has just moved into a flat in Battersea. It was so lovely to see my Mum and Dad again, who I miss very much, and we enjoyed a lovely mocha and catch up at Benugo, my frequent mid-travel pit-stop in Waterloo Station, before catching another train to Clapham Junction and heading over to my cousin's new 'pad'.

His home, let me tell you, is a dream. It's cosy, and has just enough space for two, but it stylishly decorated and has a wonderfully homely feel about it. We chatted for hours over tea, cheese and olive bread, deli meats and quince jelly, before we decided to explore the local area.

I've never ventured as far out as Battersea and Chelsea before, usually favouring the immediacy of Soho, South Bank or Westminster. It was a very odd but fabulous feeling to be in a  new place in such a familiar city. In fact, it didn't really feel like London at all! The river was peaceful, and we saw sailing boats darting about the admittedly brown water. After looking around Battersea Square, we wandered up to King's Road in Chelsea.

I admired the up-market shops, cosy quirky cafes and glittering jewels in the windows. This was a place of style but also of contentment - everyone was going about their day, shopping, drinking coffee. We wandered into movie art shops, vintage stores, glittering market halls and lush green garden centres (in the middle of the city!). It was quite a wonderful place, and I would like to go back to experience it more! I have to admit, I did get excited when I spotted a Mary Quant shop after working on a 'Fashion Through the Ages' project in Year Five - I once was quite the budding fashionista! Unfortunately I didn't go in for the sake of my purse's well-being, but it was beautiful.

As I made my way along the roads I mentally made a list of where I'd like my future home to be (in my dreams, of course!). Some of the buildings are stunning, especially (of course) around Sloane Square. I didn't get to stay in Sloane Square due to time and the looming black clouds, but I hope to return in the future.
When we had made our way over to the other side of the river, over Chelsea bridge and down the other side towards Battersea park....the clouds began to close in around us. We'd already noticed how quickly the weather was changing - an hour beforehand the sky had been clear, but the sky grew steadily blacker.  The wind had been whipping itself up into some sort of frenzy whilst we were wandering along King's Road, but now it was beginning to really become something else. The sky deepened like spilt ink running across a page. 

As we approached Battersea bridge and passed the temple in Battersea Park, the heavens opened, and our umbrellas and hoods were made redundant as we ran down the pathway to find some shelter.

The river Thames had developed foaming waves, the water as dark as the sky, and the heavens split open, lightning cracking around the city, reaching out for skyscrapers and cranes. It was the brightest storm I had seen in years and we were right in the middle of it.

Eventually, my cousin hailed a cab and we made the last five minute journey back to his flat, the once beautiful day now a threatening, soggy mess. We warmed up with hot tea and chocolate fingers before my parents and I set off, each of us intent to make our own way home.

This was, however, easier said than done; all of my routes home had been cancelled due to fallen trees. It seemed that the ten minute tempest had caused havoc for the rest of the night. Waterloo was crowded, full of stranded visitors and irate Londoners, and there was no sign of being able to return to the south any time soon that night.

And so, with my soggy boots and rat-tailed hair, I boarded a train back to my proper home with my mum and dad for a spontaneous and much-needed visit. Which, after mugs of hot chocolate,  roast dinners, fish and chips and a roaring fire, turned out to be the best idea in the world.



  1. Lovely pictures here. I'm not sure why but I always feel a little out of place in West London, I think I'm too much of an Eastender to really ever feel at home among the posh houses and cafes.

    1. Thank you! I've not been to the East end of London much, do you have any recommendations? It's strange, because that's the closest side to my hometown!

      Jo xxx