It was the South End Green Fair today – a generally very pleasant and jolly affair with lots of goodies to eat – only slightly dampened by being the first day on which we have had any serious rain for about a month! (Do think the weather gods could have been bit kinder…) However we are fortunate in having several local celebs who are game to take part, so the whole thing still went with a swing. And here they are – local bird man and occasional blues singer, Bill Oddie –
and guitar legend John Etheridge – and it was well worth the trip just to hear him play. (If perchance the name does not mean a lot to you:
‘John Etheridge rightly enjoys a glowing reputation throughout the jazz world and beyond….. His range is well illustrated by his years of touring and recording with the iconic Stephane Grappelli while simultaneously doing likewise with the legendary jazz-fusion group, The Soft Machine. John is equally at home on acoustic and electric guitar and has played with John Williams, Yehudi Menuhin, Dizzie Gillespie, Herb Ellis, Mundell Lowe, Nigel Kennedy, Pat Metheny, Birelli Lagrene, Barney Kessel, Vic Juris and countless others.’) In fact, so inspired were we that we have just booked ourselves into Pizza Express in Dean street next week to hear him play again!
Other entertainment included these good gents – although I never quite discovered who they were/were meant to be – maybe no one at all!
(Pictures at the fair, courtesy of David Mallinson)
However, all this Belsize Park-ery reminded me that I had been meaning for some time to take some pictures of our lovely Belsize Wood to ‘share’.
Belsize Wood as a very small steep patch of hillside which runs behind the Isokon building – Lawn Road Flats – our very own Grade 1 listed building – of which more another day…
Once upon a time the woods were part of a quite large nurseries and tennis club but about 20 years ago the majority of the space was taken to build a housing estate – actually a very well designed and attractive estate – with the tennis club still running down one side. However the hillside immediately behind the Isokon was actually too steep to build anything on. So it was left as wild initially, but is now managed by Camden Council and the Woodland Trust as a mini wildlife reserve.
There is a well-used paved path that winds up through the wood from Lawn Road to the estate and then to Haverstock Hill and Belsize Park station but at weekends, two other much ‘woodier’ paths are opened. One of these runs along the back of the Isokon. The other of runs through middle of the little wood via a wood stack, some great wattle ‘hedging’, several nice little bird guides, a pond and a open ‘clearing’ which looks as though it is ready for the witches coven to meet.
In fact is used for children from the local kindergartens who come, on a regard basis, to learn, I presume about nature. When I go to get the paper in the morning I nearly always walk back through the woods to the accompaniment of howls from unwilling tots being delivered by their mothers!
A couple of months ago the pond was solid with frog spawn and I must admit that I did go up one morning with a jam jar and nick a bit of the spawn in the hopes of populating our pond. I did email the council first to ask if I could but got no reply so I decided that there was so much of it that they would not miss one small jam jar’s worth. But it did me little good (my wickedness punished…) as having tipped my jam jar of frog spawn into our pond that was the last I saw of it – or any subsequent tadpoles….