Monday, September 10, 2012

Bec and Broadway

I visited Tooting yesterday, which along with Dorking and Frognal tops my list of London-area communities with the silliest names. I took the tube to Tooting Broadway, which is way down in south London, and walked north past Tooting Bec, all the way up to Clapham Common. The weather was fabulous.

Among the amusing storefronts I found: Belly Heaven, a jerk chicken restaurant. As I photographed it, the fairly intimidating-looking proprietor called out to me, and I thought, Oh boy, I'm about to get in trouble. But he turned out to be a totally nice guy and even offered me free jerk chicken. Unfortunately I couldn't stick around for the next batch, but maybe I'll take him up on it in the future!

What else did I find? Another Carribbean joint called Tickle Me, a halal food place called Freezeland, a video store (!) with a life-size Star Wars stormtrooper in the window, a window full of mannequin heads sporting cheap wigs.

After my long walk, I ducked into Caffe Nero -- an Italian-style coffee chain -- at Clapham Common. I got a latte and a chocolate muffin and listened to a heavyset man at the next table expound to his companion about the brilliance of British movie and television adaptations. He was especially taken with "The Jewel in the Crown," E. M. Forster and Evelyn Waugh. I was privy to exclamations like, "Oh, and the music in Brideshead was perfect. Perfect!"

It got kind of a kick out of it, since I'm into all those British adaptations myself. But I resisted chiming in on the conversation. I wasn't sure I wanted to open that door, you know?

At any rate, I'm so glad I got out. I get stir-crazy if I sit around the house all day, and I unexpectedly had to do some work in the morning and that made me cranky. Walking it off made all the difference.


  1. i am cracking up with these names!!

    can't wait to have my own uk silly name experience! won't be long!!!!!

  2. Walking DOES cure everything, doesn't it?
    Your pictures have given me the insight that GB is far more inclusive of other cultures these days than the USA. Or at least, from my perspective.
    This is interesting, don't you think?

  3. I've always though place names were pretty silly over there. Although we have some here in Texas that would top even those.

  4. That's part of the charm of the British novels I read - love those goofy sounding names.

    I'm glad you had a nice walk - it was beautiful here too. I felt like crap, but I did sit out on the swing in the sun for a while which was fabulous.

  5. Steve, well, Tooting? There are a few things I could say but I won't.

    Ms. Moon, it depends on where you live in the USA regarding inclusivity of cultures. We have a real melting pot around where I live, but back in the West (where I lived for a great deal of my life) not so much. Pretty white bread.

    I envy you your walking routes. I can only go in to the woods from here.

  6. Kim: Are you visiting?! Can't wait to see you if you do!

    Ms Moon: There are certainly lots of cultures present here, at least in London. I wouldn't say everyone gets along swimmingly, though. I should probably blog about this sometime!

    Ellen: Yeah, Texas has some humdingers, as I recall.

    Bug: Exactly! They're part of the charm of England overall.

    Lynne: Not that the woods are bad!