Plymouth Day 12: Back to London.


We departed Plymouth before eight and debarked in Paddington station a bit after eleven. A short taxi ride brought us to the Brook Green Hotel on Shepherd’s Bush Road in Hammersmith. There would be time for two meals and whatever else might present itself during an afternoon’s walk, for we had decided on two primary points: (A) London is far too massive to even try more than a neighborhood’s approach in a half-day, and (B) we’d leave the camera packed and rely on memories rather than be worried about shots.

It was coincidence that D found a hotel owned by the Young’s pub chain in the very neighborhood where members of the Who grew up, just down the way from Goldhawk Road and A. Cooke’s Pie & Mash Shop, and equidistant from the Thames. But she did, and so lunch was taken at A. Cooke’s … which is to say, she watched me eat Pie (steak & kidney); mash (potatoes); eel (stewed); and liquor (parsley sauce made from stewed eel broth).

Welcome to A. Cookes Pie & Mash Shop in the Heart of Shepherds Bush

To us, at Cooke’s Pie and Mash Shop, food is synonymous with freshness and quality. We are your quintessential Pie Mash & Eel shop which preserves one of London’s great traditions: lovely pie, mash and liquor!

Our pies and mash are made freshly on the premises daily, we also use real potatoes not reconstituted. All of our food is available as take away.

The unexpected bonus was the Shepherd’s Bush Market, under and adjacent to the tube track, just a couple doors down from A. Cooke’s. The staggering cultural diversity of the neighborhood fairly drips from every one of the market’s pores. We must have heard two dozen languages spoken while browsing.

Welcome to the NEW Shepherds Bush Market, London

Dating back to the early part of the last century, Shepherd’s Bush Market stands on the East side of the railway viaduct between Uxbridge Rd and Goldhawk Rd. Serving both the local Irish and Afro-Caribbean community, it’s a good place to head for music CDs, fresh and cooked foods, yams and other exotic fruits plus household goods and furnishings.

After a coffee stop, it was back to the hotel to check in, followed by a walk in the other direction, down Shepherd’s Bush Road to the Thames and the Hammersmith Bridge. At this point we were dozens of miles away from where the Thames meets ocean, and yet the river remains tidal for another ten miles west of the bridge and was at very lob ebb as we viewed in mid-afternoon.

Shopping and pub stops followed, and it came time to organize the evening. The following day’s taxi to Heathrow already had been booked. We glanced across the street from Brook Green and spotted the Los Molinos restaurant, a Spanish tapas joint, and decided to eat there. On a hot and humid day, grass wilting in the park nearby, gazpacho, fresh sardines, salad and other small plate options proved superlative with inexpensive house wine. A Young’s ale was dessert, and a stifling night’s sleep followed. Remember what I said about air conditioning’s absence?

(The account of our visit to the UK is being posted piecemeal, backdated to the actual day)