Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Boxing Day Walk Through Hampstead

Yesterday was Boxing Day, when most shops, offices and services are closed and people just hang around and recover from Christmas. Olga and I took a walk to Hampstead Heath for some vigorous squirrel-chasing.

We took a different route than usual through the village of Hampstead, and came across a fun holiday window painting of some snowmen eating pizza.

We also found author Daphne Du Maurier's former home. (It wasn't called Manderley -- it was called Cannon Cottage.) I subsequently did a bit of research and learned that Du Maurier grew up in Hampstead. I remember seeing a Du Maurier headstone in the Hampstead church cemetery, but I didn't realize it was her family.

According to the sign, she lived in this cottage for two years in the 1930s. I believe she actually grew up in a much larger adjacent house.

We also saw a bright red elephant hiding behind the garden wall of a modernist house near the heath. In 2010 London hosted an "elephant parade," in which elephant sculptures decorated by different artists and sponsors were placed throughout the city. The Hampstead elephant appears to match this one, sponsored on behalf of an Indian cricket team and placed at the time in Trafalgar Square. How it came to retirement on a Hampstead patio is anyone's guess.

It was fun to see some new sights in a part of town where we walk all the time. Taking a slightly different turn here and there makes a big difference!


  1. We had arty elephants in Sheffield too. They were auctioned off for a charity - The Sheffield Children's Hospital. I was hoping to get one but I wasn't prepared to bid £4000 which I believe was the lowest price of any of our elephants. I know that fellow outside the pizza place. He's a cage fighter with a very short temper.. I will let him know he's on your blog. He will be...err...delighted - I think.

  2. I've only got a few dog turds on my patio!

  3. To me, the whole of the Hampstead area is a fun place to walk. It has a true "village" feel to it. I do love the red elephant but I can't imagine having it reside on my patio.

  4. I would totally have that elephant on my patio. In fact, I wish I did.
    Oh wait. I don't have a patio.
    Well, I'd put it in the library!

  5. Yes, taking a few new turns can have such fine surprises. Love that elephant!

  6. I'm just wondering how you figured out where that big guy came from??? It's pretty wonderful.

  7. Love the pretty red elephant peeking out.

  8. that is a glorious red elephant. i wonder how the people who own that porch came to be so artistically gifted by it.

  9. we have had cats and dogs here in Brighton, they also went for a fortune.
    Love YP's comment.

  10. What a cute little pizza shop. It reminds me of the tiny houses that are getting so popular the past year or two.

    Like everyone else, I am captivated by the red elephant!

    But the star of your posts is always Olga :)