Butterflies and meals


One of my earliest posts, “butterflies and wheels” was about the suicide of a friend. Not all of us could make the funeral, and it seemed appropriate either way for those of us who knew her to meet up and have a drink in her honour. So eight adults and three small children decamped to London’s Camden, and the beer garden at Quinn’s pub for a drink or three. This was actually a surprisingly cheery affair, given the catalyst (small children are always a good source of surreal amusement), and for once the British weather obliged us with a sunny, calm day. Maybe a butterfly had a word with Mother Nature on our behalf……

Afterwards four of us and one small child (Toddler Z, in pushchair) went for a wander around Camden Market and the Stables, which had supposedly been “re-developed” since I was last there 5 years ago. I had feared the worst, but Camden still retains its inimitable mix of bohemian scruffiness, vegan purity, vicious commercial instinct, pretentious arty hipster-wankery plus a heavy sprinkle of punks, goths, ravers, rockers, dope-dealers and deadbeats. The only way to really re-develop Camden would be to nuke it, and even then some of the hardier denizens would undoubtedly survive the direct hit. Plus radioactive hipster cockroaches is not something the world really deserves. Okay, maybe we could unleash at least some of them on Shoreditch, but still…..

There are still a number of fine street eateries in the Stables, many of them of the “£4 for a box of chinese/mexican/Turkish/Italian food etc, food poisoning gratis courtesy of the chef” stylee, but we escaped their clutches and went into a tiny Lebanese place with low seats and tables, hangings, lamps, and tiled walls in a deep purple-red. People from the Arabic countries absolutely love children, and Z was plied with free milk and concerned entreaties that we pull his hoodie jacket down, as it had ridden up and was exposing his back to the cool night air. We’d had some Standard Pub Fare back in Quinns (baked potatoes, chips, sandwiches, yer standard alcohol-absorbers), so went for a light supper of humous and falafel wraps, plus a shared mezze of humous dashed with olive oil, vine-leaf wraps, falafel, tabbuleh, salad and fried potato cubes. A pleasant end to what could have been a saddening day, but instead was a reminder of the pleasures and strengths of friendship and of the hope for the future that children represent, even if they’re not your own.


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