Sunday, May 21, 2017

Sunday, Sunday here again

This morning we picked up the students for a walking tour of Hampstead.

Hampstead is a little northwest of my neighborhood, in a very posh area of the city. It has the highest concentration of millionaires in all of London and is known for Hampstead Heath, a large public park.

Our first stop was St. John-at-Hampstead church, whose first reference was in 1312, but the medieval building was replaced in 1745-7 with the building you see above. The churchyard is the oldest to survive unspoilt in the center of London and several famous people are buried here including painted John Constable, scientist John Harrison - inventor of the marine chronometer, and Peter Llewelyn Davies - who was the child who inspired J.M. Barrie to write Peter Pan.

The majority of the tour consisted of stopping at houses where famous artists, writers, and scientists had one resided.

Here we are at the house of Robert Louis Stevenson

Admiral House, where the resident used to fire a canon from the top, which inspired local writer resident PL Travers in his novel Mary Poppins. Architect Sir George Gilbert Scott, who designed Kings Cross/St Pancras Station lived in this house and next door lived writer John Galsworthy, author of the Forsyte Saga. 

In this house lived artist George Romney, whose muse Emma Nelson - known as Lady Hamilton - became mistress to Admiral Lord Nelson (who I mentioned in a previous post as having the column at Trafalgar Square devoted to him). 

A certain American politician, who ran for president in 2012, has traced his lineage back to George Romney. Know who it is? *ahem*

After the walking tour, my colleague and I tried to find a pub for a Sunday roast, but everywhere in the area was super crowded, so we parted ways. I headed south to try to find some food on my own, as well as pick up a few things.
I forgot how early the sun comes up here in the summertime and have been running on very little sleep due my room being full of light by 5am. Since there is no air conditioning here, I cannot keep my blinds down because it prevents air circulation and if I am at all warm when sleeping I have terrible dreams. So, I think this might be my best purchase of the month. Fingers crossed I can have a full night's sleep tonight. 

To make up for my lack of sleep at night, I had a nice, 2 hour nap this afternoon. If there have been any typos in this blog so far, I blame my lack of sleep! 

But, I want to make the most of my time here, so I forced myself out again this evening. 

A five minute walk from my house is a set of stairs in the middle of a street leading underground the cocktail bar Ladies and Gents. 
Seeing the sign you might think it leads to a public restroom and, in the past, you would have been right! The bar is housed in former underground toilets and now serves craft cocktails.

Out of the Woods cocktail
 The bartenders were friendly and it was a relaxed spot to have a drink just a short walk from home, so I'll definitely be back! 

I also took a short walk north to explore more of the neighborhood and encountered this Kentish Camel 
You never know what you'll stumble upon!

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