Tag Archives: Unusual London

Happy Go Lucky Funeral Parlour Drury Lane

Drury Lane is a fascinating street to walk along, even by the standards of any street in Covent Garden, London. It is within sight of the mighty mason temple of Great Queen Street, it is the home of one of the very few parks where you can find sparrows in London, the first of thousands of Sainsbury’s stores was opened there in the nineteenth century, a Turkish restaurant that a friend of mine claims it has a toilet with a mural with (very) explicit sexual images, a Brazilian venue with great concerts and music, etc.

But nothing prepared me to this:

The English have a distinctly liberal approach to funerals. In the Spanish version of this blog we marveled at the services of Motorcycle Funerals, for instance. But the name of the business in Drury Lane, Happy-Go-Lucky, is just the best I have ever seen for a funeral parlour, so far, anywhere.

Sparrows in London

After a few years living in London, the sound of the strong calls of the house sparrows (Passer domesticus L.) becomes as unfamiliar as the sound of the waves in the sea or the silence. The only place where I always heard and watched sparrows is a tiny little park in the heart of the city: Drury Lane WC2B.

It is a small garden with a minuscule recreation ground for children. It hosts a few couples of very active sparrows

Park with House sparrows in London

The sparrows have been there, possibly breeding, at least since 2006, when I joined a company whose offices where nearby. Sometimes, usually when it was sunny no matter which seasons, some colleagues and I used to have lunch there. This spring of 2010 the sparrows where there when I visited the garden once again.

I have no clue about why the sparrows reside in that diminutive green spot in the middle of a city that seemingly offers no other sanctuary to the species in a radius of a few miles. I have not seen sparrows feeding in the surrounding streets nor even near the river by Victory Embankment.

“Union street” – Disused tube station in London

The Escapist is a great film by Rupert Wyatt (2008) about a bunch of desperados running away from a British prison.

Brian Cox and Damian Lewis at The Escapist Source: <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0961728/">imdb.com</a>
Brian Cox and Damian Lewis at The Escapist
Source: imdb.com

Frank Perry and his inmates escape by oppressive underground tunnels. One of it is an abandoned tube station in Central London, Union Street.  The station is the perfect stage for a moment of suspended reality in the film. It looks phantasmagorical and just as sad and hopeless as the drama of the film.


Union Street tube station Source: <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/cities/gallery/2014/sep/25/london-underground-abandoned-tube-stations-bradley-garrett-in-pictures">The Guardian</a>
Union Street tube station
Source: The Guardian

I have not found any information or picture about the station. It is not on the list at http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/. It might as well just be a fictional stage of the film.

Mill Lane Open Space

The Mill Lane Open Space is a diminutive natural area in West Hampstead. Its narrow entrance does not anticipate the nice surprise that this piece of London nature is. It is in Mill Lane, London Borough of Camden, NW6 1. It is owned by LB Camden.

There are two great things about the space: the pond and a corner with a large pile of logs. They both support a good number of frogs and newts.

We visited the site at the end of May. Some big Yellow Flag Iris (Iris pseudacorus) dominated the dry pond. The plant is native to Britain but cultivated worldwide. In some regions, the flag iris scaped to become an invasive aquatic plant. Its rhizomes make the pest practically impossible to eradicate.

In Mill Lane however, the flower is a very nice feature of the site.