Summer is everywhere: in Hampstead, in rainy Clerkenwell, and in your local bookshop

It’s summer – you can tell from the relentless rain – and what better way to celebrate (in an indoor sort of way) than with a week-long blog-festival celebrating Hampstead Heath? You know: that place people go in the… er… summer…

With this in mind, the London Column asked me to provide text to go with five images of the Heath, taken by the photographer Andy Sewell. Today is the first one, & I must say, I think we’ve got something – something really summery. Think of it, if you like, as hommage to the riots:

“Time was when Hampstead was a happy hunting-ground for lurking footpads and half-masked highwaymen. Coaches were stopped and rifled on the roads that crossed or skirted the famous Heath, while hapless pedestrians were not infrequently stripped of money and jewels and left dead or well nigh strangled under the bushes. The daring outlaws guilty of such crimes were, after capture and trial at the Old Bailey, strung up to prominent trees on the Heath…”

There’s more. And the picture is intensely beautiful.

In other news, I’m at the Betsey Trotwood pub in Clerkenwell TONIGHT! Doing a READING! It features other splendid poets too, and starts at 7.30 pm. In my usual naive way I will bring a couple of copies of Egg Printing Explained with me in case anyone would like to buy one. (You can hold it over your head on the way home.)

And FURTHER – I saw yesterday that there are two copies of Me and the Dead in the Stoke Newington Bookshop. Local author status at last! If you live relatively near me and are feeling at all Me and the Dead-curious, now you know where you can pick it up as a instantaneous impulse purchase. There are two poems about the dark ages, one about Hampstead Heath, and a couple with swimming in. One even has a wolf!

Previous post:

Next post: