Dear Readers, our usual Saturday walk in St Pancras and Islington Cemetery was terminated abruptly today in favour of a flat white in Coffee Bank on East Finchley High Road. What a morning! It poured down relentlessly, and I look forward to the statistics which are going to announce that this was the wettest August ever. Even in the rain there are still things to see, but I wanted to start by showing you who popped into the garden yesterday.
This little one is very skinny but otherwise healthy – her tail looks mangey in the photo but it’s actually just a lighter silvery colour. She is all legs, and ears, and is clearly one of this year’s cubs. Normally they haven’t been visiting until it’s properly dark, but I imagine this one was very hungry. After about five minutes she loped off into the undergrowth and disappeared. It always feels like such a privilege to be visited by these animals.
Back to the High Road!
Coffee Bank stands right next to what is known as Carol’s Crossing. A wonderful local woman, Carol Jackson, was killed in a car accident at this spot in 2019. There had been many complaints about the difficulties for pedestrians who wanted to cross the road at this point, and it was very sad that the refuge in the middle of the road which makes things so much easier was constructed literally weeks after her death. Flowers are often left here in memory of Carol.
While I was watching the rain, I suddenly noticed the terracotta panels on the houses opposite. It’s these little details that make the mixed architecture around here so interesting. Clearly Tudor roses were very much in vogue.
And there are some fine floral swags too.
At least the plane trees are enjoying the rain, after the long dry periods of the last few summers.
And above the shop there’s a ‘ghost sign’ for an off licence – it’s interesting that there is still an off licence on this spot.
Then it’s off for a brisk trot along Leicester Road. Someone has planted borage and corn cockle in their front garden, and once it gets a bit drier I’m sure the bees will be delighted. I see some enchanter’s nightshade in there too – for the longest time I never saw this in East Finchley but suddenly it’s appeared.
All Saints Church looks rather forbidding against the grey sky….
But as we turn into my road, there’s a patch of blue sky.
And there is also something of an Alfred Hitchcock moment. Look at all these starlings! What are they waiting for?
They are all clicking and preening and whistling and generally discussing something I’m sure.
Maybe one of these days East Finchley will have enough starlings to have its own murmuration. Wouldn’t that be exciting? As it is, my conscience is unwrung because I topped up the bird feeders before I went out. In the film ‘The Birds’, I don’t think it was ever clear why the birds started to attack humans, but goodness knows they have enough cause. Let’s hope they don’t ever get it into their heads to take revenge.