Even to native Londoners, the size of our city can be daunting. On Thursday, in order to get to two appointments from Camden, at Battersea Power Station, and in Richmond, I spend over four hours travelling, taking one tube, one boat, two cars, one train and a bus.
But all that travel was worth it in order to do those two things: first to take a look at what is happening at the Battersea Power Station redevelopment, courtesy of interiors brand OKA who are working with the developers of Circus West, the first housing section to open on the site, as their preferred interiors supplier, and second to have lunch, hosted by Ernest Jones Jewellers at Petersham Nurseries.
The one, well two flies, in the ointment of my day was that I am currently a two-dog household, as my sister is away in Crete for a fortnight. Thus in one fell swoop I have both lost my dog sitter AND gained an extra set of paws. I won’t leave them for more than four hours, at the absolute max, so the only solution was for them to come with me.
Happily most London transport, apart from UBER which is impossible, is now dog-friendly, so we set off with my LoveMyDog carrier slung over my shoulder, for Camden tube. I realised almost immediately that this was a Very Good Idea. I had brought as a portable bed, but had underestimated Maisie’s porkiness and there was no way I could carry both dog in my arms, so into the carrier they both went, as a kind of sausage-y double-decker.
They were very good on the tube, and lay quietly in their bag. The only issue we encountered was when the skirt of my dress blew over my head on the down escalator at Camden and I had to make a decision between flashing my knickers or dropping the dogs.
I held onto the dogs.
We were taking the Northern Line to Embankment so that we could board the MBNA Clipper boat service up the river to Battersea Power Station. Until the new tube opens, Battersea is a pain in the neck to get to from north London, so the boat is a godsend. It’s dog-friendly but not cheap – £6.50 each way, but so worth it not to have to take two tubes and a bus.
It also gives you a glorious view of London from the river and a wonderful look straight up at the towers of Battersea as you arrive at the pier.
OKA have kitted out an extraordinary triplex apartment at Circus West and were also holding their press day there. This was the view form the living room.
Every single thing in the apartment was from OKA, from linens to pictures, sofas to vases.
After one last look at the view over the construction site, we headed downstairs to wait for our car to Richmond.
It’s always an enormous treat to visit Petersham Nurseries. Whilst they have a shiny new and very spectacular home in Covent Garden, the beating heart of the business will always be in Richmond. It’s an absolute bugger to get to if you don’t live nearby – I could almost get back to my parents in Northamptonshire for the time it takes me to cross London to get there from Camden, so I don’t go nearly as often as I might like to eat their simple but always perfectly executed food with its delicious seasonal ingredients and often slightly unexpected flavours.
It’s also not known for being, shall we say, a bargain destination at which to eat. Although, conversely, the plants in the actual nursery, are pretty keenly priced. (I would have come home laden with the most beautiful dark purple, almost black petunias for £2 each if I hadn’t been toting two small dogs, an OKA gift bag, my laptop in a huge straw bag, and my handbag already.)
The cafe, restaurant and break out areas for private events are all in greenhouses, very rustic and run down greenhouses at that, which add the overall charm, but forget about wearing heels unless you particularly wish to stick them in gravel. Sneakers or wedges, if you must, are the sensible option.
The dogs’ priority was to hoover up any crumbs or dropped treats. They were somewhat foiled in this mission by countless dog lovers who wished to say hello.
We were actually there to meet the Ernest Jones team, chat about the huge breadth of jewellery and watch brands that they stock, and take a look at their very pretty new own-label jewellery collections.
Thanks to Princess Eugenie of York, who sports a pink sapphire engagement ring, awareness of this pretty stone is at an all-time high, and these pave rings (above) are a new line from Ernest Jones.
I was very taken by these cabochon rose quartz pieces, which I wouldn’t necessarily have expected to see at Ernest Jones. There’s also a very good collection of chains.
Jewellery-admiring done, it was time to get stuck into lunch.
Poor old Maimoo. She may have had her name on a place card, and her paws firmly on the table
but she spent the meal in her bag, hoping for manna to drop from the skies.
Spiced chickpeas and marinated courgettes with feta, chillies and Petersham Honey
Amalfi lemon semi-freddo, with meringue, and poppy seed marscapone (not shown).
Orange cheesecake with roasted nespoles (loquats) and thyme
The cheese course: Dorstone with pickled grapefruit and sourdough lavoche
By this point the poor little dogs were slightly flagging, so we jumped in a car to Richmond station, some fifteen minutes away to catch the Overground train back to Camden Road.
I hadn’t *quite* realised how heavy my bags were as I had arrived at Petersham via car. I quickly realised that there was no way I was walking the ten minutes back home from the station, even without the dogs in their carry bag. So we waited at the bus stop for our last transport of the day – the glamorous 274 for the short hop up the road. And waited. And waited. Finally the bus came. Goodness was I glad to be nearly home.