As the Bleeding London photography project is encouraging me to explore the streets, lanes, roads, avenues and passageways about my home, my work and anywhere I find myself, it's also motivating me to learn about what I discover on my travels. Ever since I started writing a blog, it was apparent that one thing would very much lead to another and I would be impelled to research and increase my knowledge about whatever I've seen. It would be so much easier if I could just take the odd photograph and post as is, no text, no commentary, no title. But I find I cannot! Even though this compulsion makes maintaining a blog so much more time consuming, it's just how I am. I never kept a diary as a child but I can now see the allure, I love delving back and reliving moments, experiences, delicious meals, exotic locations, crazy projects and everything else. My blog about food and travel is sadly suspended in time now, keeping up one blog the way I'm compelled to is challenging, maintaining two, that's just the way madness lies. But a tasty slice of my life from April 2006 to more or less December 2011 is still documented at http://haveforkwilltravel.blogspot.co.uk/ Only in the last couple of weeks I've revisited an unforgettable trip to Venice on the Orient Express, my entry for a virtual food blogging party themed as "breakfast" where I conjured up the impossible Egg Benedict canapés and the fabulous c-level diet courtesy of one of my oldest friends, F. I started this photography blog in May 2010 but sadly there's a lot missing. My second trip to Berlin with the lovely people, some of whom I would enjoy an incredible holiday to Iceland with a year later, is entirely absent. My photography holidays to Istria in Croatia and Almería in Andalucia seemed to have regrettably never to have been recorded... hmm maybe when I have a moment! And I'm very glad Hawaii is there but the two following delightful weeks I spent in France, with an inadequately packed suitcase and my first proper Leica, are not at all. Last year I religiously captured every day in some form, as I mentioned my predilection for verbosity can make this onerous, so I'll probably never take on so much again but I can tell the Bleeding London project, in the best possible way, is sucking me in.
This entire intro is trying to explain why when I decided to wander down the utterly nondescript path between the tall back walls of the adjoining gardens I ending up writing so much more than such a short cut seemingly deserved. I started in St. Stephen's Passage looking for inspiration, I ended up reading up on the history of the area and writing an essay.
Back in the day, when most of all this didn't exist, when the folk of Twickenham headed to the river, they crossed the pastures of Ten Acre Field belonging to Cambridge House, and established an ancient right of way. When Henry Little started redeveloping the estate of Cambridge House around 1863, he had to preserve this public footpath and used it as a boundary between the gardens of the five villas he built on one side (Richmond Road) and the rear gardens of the seven semi-detached five storey houses on the other (Cambridge Park). This was known as St Stephen's Lane initially, because of the church of the same name (possibly based on the birthday of Henry Little's wife) and is now St. Stephen's Passage. There's really nothing there at all, it's a paved gap housing the odd lamppost. Possibly because it's tucked away it's become a haunt for some people to drink cheap vodka and then rather than dispose of the bottles, lay them flat along the top of the brick wall. I'm sure some have ended up in the surrounding gardens but plenty remain. I've never partaken of Glen's vodka before but that darned research again tells me it's about as bottom shelf you can get and smells alluringly of nail polish removed. Don't mind if I don't!
After feeling my minifigs lacked someone who'd enjoy a swig of bargain basement vodka in an alleyway, I'd procured an unshaven possibly blood stained vest wearing figure. Though in retrospect, the white trousers are way too white for such a scenario. After I'd taken the picture I did flatten the bottles back on top of the wall. I know I should have rounded them all up and taken them to the recycling bottle bank but I was heading entirely in the wrong direction. If they are still there next time I'm passing, I will remove them. That's going to make it much more challenging for the next visitor armed with a camera, looking for an image.