Don’t Panic

Newspapers have dubbed the Saturday before Christmas Panic Saturday“.  They expect shoppers to crowd on to London’s shopping streets today, looking for last-minute Christmas presents.   Distant Drumlin’s mission is to make you smile instead of panic.

Last week I walked from Marylebone to the neighbouring district of Saint John’s Wood.  I had expected the wood to be more impressive than this.

mini trees St John's Wood

Not that Marylebone has much to be proud of.   They’ve gone too far in the direction of minimalism with their Christmas decorations.

Marylebone Lane crane (1)

The most important thing this week is to get your Christmas greetings right.  How could anyone write “Christmas Merry”?  Isn’t that obviously the wrong way round?

Chinatown Christmas Merry (2)

Well, to be fair, I’ve actually got some sympathy for the unknown worker who put up this decoration in a Chinese restaurant in Gerrard Street.  I lived in China for a few years, and learned a little of the language.  All the greetings that I know for special events, including 生日快乐 for birthdays and 圣诞快乐 for Christmas, start with the name of the festival.  So this word order – Christmas Merry – probably seemed right when the stencil went up.

Here’s one final photograph.  It’s physically impossible to panic while looking this image.

baby reindeer slippers (1)

Distant Drumlin’s Fact-Checker

  1.  These trees sculpted from branches are on sale at Dansk Flowers.
  2.  The ducting was being hoisted by crane up to the top of a building under construction on Marylebone Lane.
  3. The reindeer booties are for sale at Mothercare on Oxford Street.

28 Photos Later: Day 20 in London

Welcome back to London on Day 20 of “28 Photos Later”.  Drive carefully!


Today’s photo is “Still Rolling”.  This market stall was resting at the edge of Church Street market, Lisson Grove, NW8.

market stall

What makes this market stall unique to London?  If you look carefully, and maybe turn your screen upside down, you can just about read a name carved into the wood –  Ellen Keeley Barrows, 33 Neal Street, Covent Garden.  The Keeley firm made and rented out barrows and hand trucks to traders operating in London’s markets.   I don’t think the firm still survives, but this old wooden market stall is still going strong.

Click here for an article about the history of Covent Garden, including a photo of Ellen Keeley’s shop on Neal Street.

Click here for one of my own posts about Indian street markets.

Bleeding London: Edgware Road

In taking photos for the Bleeding London project, I have walked along some quiet streets, away from London’s famous landmarks and wealthy neighbourhoods.  At first the streets seem nondescript, with no photogenic features.  But just give it a few minutes and you will always find something worth noticing.

NW1 Cabbell Street

This statue of a window cleaner by sculptor Allan Sly stands outside Edgware Road tube station, but it makes people smile because the cleaner is actually looking up at a much taller building – Capital House.  There is no way his wee ladder is ever going to reach the 16th storey windows.

I want to sing the praises of Edgware Road and the Lisson Grove Estate: not the most glamorous of streets, but they have plenty of friendly people, who have made a pretty good effort to add flowers and green space wherever possible.

NW8 Mallory Street

I liked this lavender on Jerome Crescent.

Lisson Grove Estate

And there’s love too.


I love Mustafa