London Diaries 6 – Sunday 3rd February 2019: Free Hugs in the East End


Neither of us felt in the mood for a mad one. I carried around the Sony FDR-X3000R action cam, thinking that I might possibly make a video this week, but that never happened. Mainly because I discovered that I can make slideshow videos of my photography on the iPad with minimal effort. It’s kinda nice not to give a second thought to those downvoting jerks on YouTube when a video has only taken five minutes to put together rather than five hours. Or days.

The day got off to a bit of a delayed start, as we had originally intended to travel into Central London from Burnham train station, only to rock up there and discover that there was a rail replacement service going on. We’re not fans of rail replacement buses (who is?), so we hopped back into the car and went to Slough train station instead.
Finally about to leave Slough. This is the happiest PJ has ever looked.
Playing with those camera settings on the train to pass the time.
Our plan was to spend a leisurely day strolling around Brick Lane. Once we’d finally made it over to the East End, it was pretty much lunchtime, but we made the odd decision to ignore the McDonald’s at Liverpool Street station, and walk over to the one in Whitechapel instead. Heads up: it’s further away than you’d expect. Especially on foot.

Fun fact about me: I don’t enjoy photography when I’m hungry. But here’s a little gallery of images taken pre-lunch, in those moments “in between locations”.

Once we’d refuelled ourselves with Whitechapel’s finest processed crap, we were ready to head over to Brick Lane.


Brick Lane

We love Brick Lane market on a Sunday. There’s a tangible atmosphere so strong, it’s almost a sensory overload. On a good day, there are so many musicians busking the streets, it’s quite surreal to hear the different performances merge into each other as you travel down the road. On sunny days, the light fills the intersections between the main stretch and the side roads, illuminating clusters of people, all of whom are wrapped up in the laidback spirit of the area. There are food stalls of every description; each one filling the air with the scent of their cooking. The street art that dominates nearly every available wall space is a fittingly vibrant backdrop to an equally vibrant area.

I spent too much time being indecisive about whether or not I was shooting video or photographs though, and ended up not really doing anything, other than going totally against character and accepting a “Free Hug” from a stranger. Damn my weakness for Japanese guys…

I wasn’t anticipating the “Free Hug” to be as enthusiastically delivered as it was. PJ captured my surprise well.

Colombia Road Flower Market

On a whim, it suddenly seemed like a really good idea to walk over to Colombia Road Flower Market. We’ve often been rather bemused, watching people wandering down Brick Lane carrying enormous plants and huge bouquets of flowers on their journey back from the nearby flower market, so we thought we’d go and check it out for ourselves.

We had no idea of the best route to get there, so we just used our best detective skills and retraced the steps of everybody who was carrying foliage. Just call us Sherlock and Watson.

Here’s another word of advice (this blog is just one big old public service announcement today): EVERYBODY is at Colombia Road Flower Market at 3pm on a Sunday, so if crowds aren’t your thing, avoid that time like the plague. I genuinely had no idea that plants were that popular. All the plants in my house are made out of plastic, because I appear to be the victim of some sort of curse that prevents me from keeping real ones alive.


A bit of B Roll…

I think in the end we were only taking photographs for about three hours. We got a little lost on our way back to Liverpool Street station because there was no trail of clues to follow like there had been with the plants, and I’m normally too stubborn to admit defeat and resort to Google maps, because darn it, I should just KNOW instinctively how to get everywhere. We had to hastily hide our cameras when we did eventually get back to near the station though, because an enormous giant of a man had taken HUGE offence to being photographed by another street photographer, and was storming down the road, yelling obscenities and out for blood. It made me pretty thankful that we’ve never experienced anything like that. Yet.

There’s a real-time ten day hiatus between this London Diaries instalment and the next, because our schedules don’t permit us to get out shooting in that time. However, I’m so terribly disorganised/busy (delete as per your kindness level), the next blog will be online within the next 24 hours of me posting this one, in which you can find out the effect that a ten day break has on me creatively.

Be sure to say hello in the comments so that I know that people are reading this blog during my lifetime, and it’s not just going to be used as a posthumous look at the ramblings of “that quirky girl with the camera”.

Stay Curious,

Love From London x

4 thoughts on “London Diaries 6 – Sunday 3rd February 2019: Free Hugs in the East End

  1. Very entertaining blog of ‘two’ quirky girls with a camera – your style of writing is so good, that I want to read a book of yours ,)) You can out some photos in as well

  2. I’m reading this blog during your lifetime……and thoroughly enjoying all the photographs in your part of the world…..and utterly envious of all the opportunities London provides compared to the little town where I do most of my dubious photographic activities. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and images…..very entertaining.

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