London Lantern

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Diary of a Young Londoner (An Aspiring Actress)

23/11/2002, By Jenny Walters

Reader Rating: 2.9 from 16475 votes

My Week - Starting 1st November: After spending a hard day grafting as a receptionist (it’s more difficult than it looks) I strolled along to a casting in Brewer St. The audition was for a comedy show and was being held in a pub called the ‘Glasshouse Stores’ – very kind of them. I got to Soho early and popped into ‘Fresh & Wild’, 71 Brewer St, across the road for some food. Fresh & Wild is a spacious organic food shop, café, juice bar and natural remedy emporium. After a healthy and tasty bean something or other, I rushed back across the road for an unhealthy beer. It’s all about balance, you see. The casting went well and I’ve been offered a part, so we’ll see how that works out.

It was bonfire night this week, 5th November, and our local council always throws a top-notch firework display. So we wrapped up warm, filled our pockets with teeth threatening treacle toffee and headed off to celebrate the fall of the gunpowder plot of 1605. I have no idea why we still do this but it is great fun and a good excuse to act like a child.

The Langley

Later in the week my husband, Carl and I decided that we needed warm winter coats to combat the miserable weather and went late night shopping on Oxford Street. On Thursday night most of the shops are open until 9p.m and are less busy than Saturday afternoon. Afterwards, decked out in our new purchases we took ourselves off to a bit of a do being held by a friend of mine at ‘The Langley Bar and Restaurant’, 5 Langley St, Covent Garden. I like the Langley, it is tastefully decorated and has a grown-up, happy atmosphere.

My Week - Starting 8th November: The temping agency called me with a job working in an office based in Smithfield Market, London’s largest wholesale meat market They assured me it wouldn’t smell of meat, it didn’t but I wouldn’t like to be round there in summer! At 800 years old Smithfield is one of the oldest markets in London and is housed in a fabulous grade II listed Victorian building. Trading hours are between 4am and 12pm and, when the office workers are walking from the train sipping sleepily on milky coffees, the market traders are already drinking pints in the local pubs, which are licensed to sell beer from 6am.

The area surrounding the market is full of 24 hour cafes and good restaurants; a favourite of mine is ‘The Greenery’ 5 Cowcross St EC1, which prides itself on selling tasty home-made veggie food. Excellent bars come into their own at night time, a popular place is ‘Smiths of Smithfield’ 67 Charterhouse St EC1, a 3 storey bar and restaurant, full of young things on the pull (a bit of a meat market actually.)

Smithfield Market

The weather this week was miserable and train journeys were delayed due to the fire fighters' strike and tube workers refusing to work because of safety. Commuters sloped hopefully from station to station looking for a route home. Most people support the fire fighters' cause (apart from the Government, unfortunately) but really wished there was an end to the dispute because they wanted to go home for their dinner.

I ended up at Blackfriars Station, cold and tired but as I shuffled along the platform I smiled as I looked out from under my umbrella. Blackfriars platform stretches out over the Thames and the view at night is beautiful. Just when you give up hope, London always produces something to remind you how lucky you are.

My Week - Starting 15th November: I know it’s early but I got a bit excited about Christmas this week. This culminated in the best part of a day spent shopping for Christmas presents in John Lewis on Oxford Street. We managed to get most of our gifts there. It is a fabulous department store that stocks everything from cushions to chocolates. For the rest of the presents we went to Islington and wandered round the small boutiques on Upper Street. Upper Street is full of interesting little shops selling bits and bobs ideal for gifts. Across the road is Camden Passage which has a well known antiques market stretching from Angel to Islington Green, you would definitely be able to pick up some souvenirs from your trip to London that differ from the usual Union Jack tea towel!

Late Night Shopping

Just across the road from Angel tube station is Chapel Market, a street market popular with locals. Open from Tuesday to Saturday 9am to 6pm it sells all the usual cheap and cheerful household goods and fruit and veg.

Mid-shop we wanted something quick and cheap to eat, as a rule I won’t go to chain restaurants because they are usually very poor all round but there are a few exceptions. Nando’s is a chain that specialises in spicy Portuguese chicken and is very good. The other restaurant chain that I will make an exception for is Pizza Express who have branches dotted all over England and plenty in London.

My Week - Starting 22nd November: When my agent phoned me and told me I had a day’s filming lined up for a T.V commercial I was very pleased. When she told me it was for one of those weight loss clubs, I got a bit sensitive. She reassured me that I was playing a friend of the dieter and the premise was that we were celebrating her new found thinness in a swanky bar. Usually the prospect of spending several hours in a boozer fills me with a warm feeling but as the call time was 7.30a.m it didn’t have the same appeal. Particularly as it was freezing cold and the wardrobe department decided that I shouldn’t wear very much at all. The filming was done at a bar called The Rocket Wine Bar, Brewhouse Street, SW15, a very swish bar and restaurant by the river, I shall return there at a more sensible hour.

Putney, in south west London is full of bars and restaurants. It is a pleasant town overlooking the Thames, Putney Heath and Richmond Park. It’s not one of my usual haunts but I know plenty of people who love a night out or a day’s shopping there.

Jenny Walters

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Re: Diary of a Young Londoner (An Aspiring Actress)

By Phyllis Threlkeld Cruson 03/12/2002, (Rating: 2.9 from 15526 votes)

Jenny's writing is nicely descriptive and full of youthful energy. Her articles are always fun to read. I hope she can continue to find time to write.

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