We’ve been staying in a loft space in a secret enclosed yard, tucked just off Borough High Street, one of the oldest streets in London, pretty much in constant use for the past 2000 years!
Vine Yard is a wonderfully quiet space with trees bursting with blossom in the Spring sunshine. Blackbirds signing and squirrels squirreling. A mixed-use space with residential lofts, film production companies and cool-as-cats brand and design agencies. Borough Tube is just outside – incredibly handy to nip into town. I timed it. Door to door to Leicester Square in 15 minutes!
Walking around Borough we stumbled upon a really fascinating spot called the Crossbones Graveyard. This was the site of a post-medieval burial ground c 1100’s, estimated to hold the mortal remains of some 15,000 ‘single women’ AKA ‘Winchester Geese’ of the Bankside brothels.
These single women were prostitutes and forbidden the rites of the church as long as they continued their ‘sinful life’ and therefore excluded from Christian burial. Today, it’s a peaceful flower-filled garden of remembrance, the result of heartfelt local campaigning. It’s tucked away in a side street off the main road and beautifully fenced in with coloured ribbons, tied bows of silk and cotton and handwritten messages of love – it’s very touching and quite beautiful.
Another charming slice of hidden Borough is the Copperfield Street Community Garden, with a row of impossibly cute rural-inspired cottages, built on a site made vacant by bombs in the Blitz. A true pocket of peace and serenity in this bustling part of London.
Thriving Borough Market is just up the road and said to be the oldest surviving market in London (1276). To be honest though, nothing survives from this period with the present building hailing from the mid 1800’s. It’s a bustling crowded place to wander around under the green iron, glass panelled roofs, with fresh produce sourced from all over the country – Sea Urchins from Brittany, Rock Oysters from Colchester, Lindisfarne and Poole Harbour. Freshly caught fish that unnervingly stare blankly into space. Fresh breads, pastries and pies of all shapes and sizes and heaving mountains of fruit and veggies. Serving the lunch time crowds are steaming vats of Bouillabaisse, pungent curries and French Potée (meat & veg stew), so it’s nigh-on impossible to escape this place without buying or eating your way out, often groaning either from too much food eaten or too many bags to carry.
We sadly leave Vine Yard today on a glorious early Summer’s day. The Easter forecast is for low to mid 20’s and more sunshine. We’re off to my nephew Shaun’s wedding in Surrey on Friday, then down to family in Poole for the weekend.
We have just one more week of freedom before jetting off once again, back to Santiago for a few days then homeward bound to Sydney.