Peter dropped me at Brentwood on his way to his next appointment so I had a few hours wandering round this small town. The Waterstones here is in an attractive building but I haven’t been able to find out anything about its original use. It has a cosy feel inside and the two staff members I spoke to were both very friendly.
Brentwood has a Catholic cathedral which I would have like to have looked round, but there was nothing in the lobby to say whether it was permissible to go inside, and when I peered through the inner door I could see a small group of musicians inside rehearsing, so I didn’t go in.
I came across this…
Which after Googling I have discovered is the Brentwood Column and was designed to celebrate the town’s heritage – it would have been useful if they had some information by it for non-locals! After stopping for coffee in M&S I just had time to pop into Brentwood’s independent book shop ‘Chicken and Frog’ (great name – I don’t know where it comes from) before meeting up with Peter to head to our next destination.
Peter had to go to see some customers in the south east so I went along with him. We stayed in Essex overnight so I was able to do a couple of branches of Waterstones. The first was in Romford – the store here is in a modern shopping centre and set over two floors.
Romford holds an open air market three days a week. It is one of the UK’s oldest markets, having been granted a charter by Henry VIII in 1247.
Behind the market is the Anglican parish Church dedicated to Edward the Confessor (confusingly there is a Catholic church of the same name in Romford!) – it has a couple of beautiful, modern, stained glass windows but sadly I haven’t been able to find out any information about them.
Currently reading Keep You By My Side by Callie Langridge and listening to The Black Book (Rebus #5) by Ian Rankin
Our last stop of the day before heading home was to Teddington where we decided to stop for lunch. The Waterstones here opened in 2004 and used to be an Ottakars store and, like the Newport and Doncaster branches, they have a tiled mural done by artist Chris Burke behind their tills. (Incidentally, according to Chris’s website there were some in other former Ottakars stores, but of the shops we’ve already done they were either covered over, have been removed or we simply failed to notice them!).
The lady in Teddington looked rather bemused when I asked if I could take a picture of the tiles and asked why I wanted to so I muttered about it being unusual! As you can see, theirs is covered with adverts!
We had lunch in the King’s Head pub – a delicious Malabar fish curry – and then headed down to Teddington lock to walk it off before heading home!
We decided to head to Teddington for lunch. We didn’t really have time to stop at Twickenham on the way home, but couldn’t really miss out on the opportunity to visit Waterstones on the way through, so Peter dropped me outside and went round the block whilst I popped in!
Twickenham must surely be best known as the home of English Rugby Union and it is an ambition of mine to go there to see a match one day.
We had not been to Richmond before so decided to head their on our drive home, via the beautiful Richmond Park. The town which is on the River Thames is very picturesque and there are plenty of cafes and bars to enjoy as well as independent shops mixed with High Street names. The Waterstones here is in a large curved Art-Deco-looking building and is set over two floors.
We also spotted a great looking children’s book shop called The Alligator’s Mouth (I believe the name comes from a Lemony Snicket quote) but unfortunately as it as a bank holiday we were there before the shop opened so we weren’t able to look inside.
These views, taken from Richmond Hill looking east across the Thames.
Richmond Park is home to Red and Fallow deer – I think these are female red deer.
On the second day of our weekend away it rained. A lot! We therefore decided that rather than go into London again (as had been our plan) we would take advantage of our National Trust membership and go to visit the 17th-century house, Ham House and Garden in Richmond, where we could at least spend some of the time indoors! The house was very enjoyable and we spent several hours there. When we left it was still raining so we headed to Kingston upon Thames to visit the Waterstones in the indoor Bentall Shopping Centre. Unfortunately due to the rain we didn’t explore any of the town so maybe next time we’re back in the area we’ll find the time to do so.
Below are some pictures of Ham House. We would like to come back to see the gardens when it’s not raining as from what we saw they are extensive and look stunning.
If anyone has read The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell (and if you haven’t, I recommend this atmospheric, historical novel) then they might be rather freaked out by the figure in the basement…!
I left Peter in the Horseshoe pub in Hampstead (the Camden Brewery started life in this establishment) and popped back to the graveyards at St John-at-Hampstead to look at some of the famous graves there. Amongst the ‘residents’ are actress Kay Kendall who co-starred in the film Genevieve, landscape artist John Constable and former Labour Party leader, Hugh Gaitskell. After we met up again we went to visit the Waterstones located in Hampstead High Street.
This shop was a Woolworths before it closed down in the 1970s. You can see an image of it here taken in 1937.
Clockwise from top left are 1. author Eleanor Farjeon (she wrote the words for the hymn ‘Morning Has Broken’), 2. Mary Knox (daughter of the Winnie the Pooh illustrator E H Shepard and an artist in her own right – she illustrated the Mary Poppins books), 3. Peter Cook, satirist and comedian and finally 4. author Penelope Fitzgerald.