London Grilling: Part 3
It’s Friday, which means it’s that time of the week when we put one of our favourite London voices under the spotlight with our London Grilling questions.
Today we have the mastermind behind that revered online hub of London history and taxi trivia, CabbieBlog.
What’s your secret London tip?
At the moment, the trade is so quiet you could almost choose which colour cab you would like to sit in. But on a cold, wet December evening just when the theatres are closing, where can you get a cab in the West End? Well, cross Trafalgar Square and walk under Admiralty Arch (you know the building that looks like a giant McDonald’s sign) then standing at the end of the Mall you’ll get a cab in minutes – promise.
What’s your secret London place?
It won’t be a secret when I tell you, but I love St. Mary’s Church in Battersea www.stmarysbattersea.org.uk, even though it is south of the river. This little grade one listed Georgian church has stunning river views on its doorstep – literally. J. M. Turner would be rowed across from his house on Cheyne Walk to paint it. It’s just a pity Richard Rogers was allowed to build the Montevetro apartments overlooking the churchyard. Sorry Dick; nice flats, wrong location.
What’s your biggest gripe about London?
You would expect me to list roadworks as my number one complaint, but it’s litter. Why oh why do people not now bother to find a bin or take their rubbish home? And don’t start me talking about chewing gum…
What advice would you give to someone moving to London?
Make sure you are located near a tube station, then London is your Oyster – sorry I couldn’t resist that. And don’t believe everything the estate agent tells you; look out for those yellow police boards asking for witnesses. They’re your best indicator of local street crime.
What would you choose to do in London if you had more space and time?
Driving is the last thing I want to do on my special day. I would take the Thames Clipper from Tate Modern to Greenwich, it is cheap and has no dopey commentary – I’m a cabbie, I know what Shakespeare’s Globe looks like! First stop at Greenwich is Inigo Jones’ Queen’s House, which was the first Palladian building built in England. Then it’s a long climb up what must be the steepest hill in London to General Wolfe’s statue and to take in London’s most amazing panorama. I’d have my picture taken with one foot either side of the Meridian Line, and then pop into the 16 Seconds West Brasserie for lunch; you deserve it after that climb! I’d have a look around Flamsteed House and if I could without missing the boat, spend 30 minutes watching the stars at London’s only planetarium. Back on the Thames Clipper – when you disembark, remember there’s a cab rank outside Tate Modern two minutes from the jetty. You wouldn’t want to spoil your day by getting a bus would you?
Thanks to David for a really insightful set of answers there. We’ll certainly remember where to go for a quick cab home on a rainy West End day, and if it’s sunny, we’ll be sure to head to General Wolfe’s statue in Greenwich for some sublime views of the city.
In the meantime, try not to take the Tube for granted! And why not head down to the tranquil St. Mary’s Church in Battersea for an afternoon of riverside serenity?
Next Friday we’ll have more great insights,but in the meantime we’d love to hear your responses to the London Grilling questions. You can reach us via the comments section below, or on twitter at @EastVillageLDN.