Resting On My Laurels… (hehe)

A Lazy Ass Day in Islington

Andy has scheduled the week off from work while I visit him in London. A few work-related issues, however, need attending to on Friday… No problemo with me… I sleep in, read my book, and spend time with Dewey in Andy’s flat.

Andy lives in a flat on Upper Street above a restaurant near St. Mary’s Church.

It’s quite lovely…

The steps are covered with non-slip liners for Dewey who is recuperating from back leg surgery (both legs).

The tiny cupboard below houses a washing machine… really!

The hallway leads into a large bright sitting room with tall windows.

Appropriately, I am reading a mystery book by British author, Anthony Horowitz, Magpie Murders.

As a school librarian I am very familiar with the author’s young adult Alex Rider and Power of Five series, but it wasn’t until Tom, a friend and volunteer from Thousand Palms Oasis, suggested a binge-worthy Netflix British murder mystery series (Midsomer Murders) to watch that I found out about Horowitz’s talents as journalist, screenwriter, and adult “who-done” it books.

After I return to the States and continue reading this novel, I recognize places and street names referred to in the book and understand some subtle references made by the author.

Late afternoon, we walk up and down Upper Street as I search for souvenirs for the grandkids in Jernigan Land.

Andy takes me to After Noah, an eclectic curiosity shop filled with toys, homewares, and restored furniture.

How do gasoline prices here compare with the U.S.? I have no clue…

The spire in the background is St. Mary’s Church where Andy takes Dewey for his morning and evening walks.

We actually spotted the steeple from the open observation deck, level 72, from the Shard yesterday. I took a picture but you couldn’t see it.

According to, a church has stood on this site since the 12th century. The original church was rebuilt in 1483, 1754, and again in 1956.

In the 18th century the Islington Church Act of 1750 was passed by Parliament to authorize appointed trustees to pull down the old church and steeple and rebuild the same as, recorded in the Act’s preamble, the church “is now in a very ruinous condition”. Fees charged for funerals, bell-ringing, and the use of coffin cloths were to be used for rebuilding. The trustees were also authorized to raise up to £7000 by selling annuities. (Campbell, S. Allen Jr.,  History of St. Mary Islington.  St. Mary Islington , 2007.)

We pass by Islington’s City Hall building.

Andy does a bit of shopping at his favorite store in Angel Central, Muji.

We end our lazy day at Franco Manca, the popular sourdough pizza restaurant chain.

We share an appetizer.

And we each order our own pizza. Delicious! So delicious that I forget to take a picture…

I borrow this one from the Internet:

Yummy and fun!

And finally, I leave you with Some Itsy Bitsy Bits About Islington…

During medieval times Islington was just one of many small manors in the area. (

A manor was an agricultural estate composed of tracts of land, a village whose inhabitants worked that land, and a house where the owner of the land lived. (

Variant spellings of what is now ‘Islington’ first appear in 1005 when the Saxons named the village ‘Giseldone’ then later, in 1062, ‘Gislandune’. The name comes from the Old English meaning Gisla’s hill, Gisla from a personal name and “dun” meaning ‘hill’ or ‘down’. (

Further variants include Ysendon, Isendune, Yseldon, and Eyeseldon possibly meaning ‘hill of iron’ or ‘lower fort’.  From 1559 onward, on the Calendar of Proceedings in Chancery in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, ‘Islington’ became the preferred spelling. (Campbell, S. Allen Jr., History of St. Mary Islington. St. Mary Islington , 2007.)

These are the only clues as to when this first town north of London was established.

Upper Street used to be called High Street and before that it was named High Road. Similarly, Essex Street used to be called Lower Street, Lower Road, and Low Road.

These 2 streets, Upper (High) and Essex (Low) converge at Islington Green, now a small triangular green space that was once where farmers had grazing rights. Today there is a statue of Sir Hugh Myddelton at this junction. Myddleton was responsible for designing the New River, an artificial waterway or canal that supplied fresh drinking water to London from the River Lea and an assortment of springs. It opened in 1613. (

Perhaps you can guess where this is going… High Road, Low Road, Islington’s location just north of London leading further north to the greater part of England and beyond to Scotland? It was in Islington, so the story goes, where one had to make a decision that led to the song, You take the high road and I’ll take the low road, and I’ll be in Scotland a’fore you!” (Campbell, S. Allen Jr., History of St. Mary Islington. St. Mary Islington , 2007.)

Upper Street is the main shopping district of Islington and part of the A1 road, the longest numbered road in the UK at 410 miles. The A1 connects London, the capital of England, to Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland.

Another unique feature of Upper Street is that it is one of the few streets in London to have a high pavement or sidewalk, as we call it. Constructed in the 1860s, the purpose of the high pavement was to protect pedestrians from being splashed by the large number of animals using the road to reach the Royal Agricultural Hall. The Hall was home to the Smithfield Club which held annual exhibitions of livestock, agricultural produce, and agricultural implements from 1862 until 1938. (

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