Thought of the Day

I don't believe in morality, but I believe in ethical conduct as set out by His Holiness the Dalai Lama: "Ethical conduct = a way of behaving that respects others’ right to be happy".

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Jewels of London

Primrose Hill is one of the cutest neighbourhood of London. Hidden behind the chaotic Camden, it is still the best kept secret from tourists. It is a village with bohemian houses, independent shops, friendly restaurants and a hill with a lovely skyline. The Primrose Hill Gallery is an unmissable spot: it offers lithography from modern art masters at competitive prices. It is here that my husband got me the Matisse lithography.
It is also very posh, but not as ostentatious and conspicuous as Chelsea. - at least not in appearance. The wealthy locals paradoxically like the simple life, one they could get much cheaply elsewhere {see Italy, for example} where organic food, independent shops, green spaces and a community feel, in other words good quality of life, are the norm and not a premium luxury.
The difference is, of course, that in Primrose Hill you enjoy the priceless added value of being in the middle of London hustle and bustle without hassle. Besides, you have the largest yoga centre in Europe at your doorstep: Triyoga. It is here that I have been practising my yoga, almost every day, for the last five years. So, it's an area I call *home* in inverted commas.
The same Saturday I had my yoga teaching training interview, which took place in a tiny kitchen-turned-office, I also visited the new Primrose Hill Museum of Everything which literally looked homemade. At the entrance we were welcomed by a box-office and an old tea mug used to collect offers. The museum has been heavily endorsed by the celebrity crowd of Primrose Hill and thus it's free. I felt like visiting someone's house. There is a homely and homemade feel throughout {a narrow corridor and small rooms dotted around}, until you get to a door opening into an spacious warehouse-type of space. The museum hosts paintings, sculptures and installations by disadvantaged artists, either disabled or outcasts, from all over the world. A DIY cafe with homemade cakes and tea on offer concludes the visit.
A whiff away from the museum is the Primrose Hill Bakery which specialises itself in cupcakes. Its look of a fifty-style kitchen also made me feel at home.
Primrose Hill is also linked in my imaginary to a melancholic circumstance: the death of Sylvia Plath. It was the winter of 1963, and London had never been so chilly. A young lady lived as a single mother with her children in a rented a flat at 23 Fitzroy Road she had recently moved into. In the morning of 13th February she stuck her head into the oven. She was only 31 years old.
Sylvia Plath and the Worry Bird by Justin Fitzpatrick is a painting I saw at a friend's of friend's exhibition last year. It totally fascinated me.

"I would face him, and say simply: I am sad that you are not strong, and do not swim and sail and ski, but you have a strong soul, and I will believe in you and make you invincible on this Earth."

Passage from Sylvia Plath's Journal

Photo credits: Hill of Primrose Hill by Art of the State;  Primrose Hill Bakery from Flikr; Flower shop from Flikr; Panoramic view from Primrose Hill by Panoramic Earth.

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