Friday, July 21, 2017

Roger Ebert's Favorite London spots from his memoir Life Itself

Roger Ebert's Favorite London spots from his memoir "Life Itself" 
(Except for the floating Chinese restaurant, Fengshang Princess, which I thought was cool.)

I very much enjoyed the London Perambulating and Eyrie Mansion chapters. I don't know if I'll ever make it to London, and since I'm in a wheelchair many sites will be off limits to me so I loved exploring vicariously through the google images and websites I found on these places. (FYI, the order of the photos are necessarily in the correct order of his walk. All images are from google images results.)


Belsize Tube Stop

Keats House, Hampstead, London (
John Keats (1795 - 1821), is one of the main figures of the second generation of Romantic poets, along with Lord Byron.   By the end of the 19th century, he had become one of the most beloved of all English poets. The poetry of Keats is characterised by sensual imagery, most notably in the series of odes. This is typical of romantic poets, as they aimed to accentuate extreme emotion through the emphasis of natural imagery. Some of the greatest works of Keats are "I Stood Tip-toe Upon a Little Hill", "Sleep and Poetry", and the famous sonnet "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer".

Parliament Hill

Kenwood House (
Kenwood House (also known as the Iveagh Bequest) is a former stately home, in Hampstead, London, on the northern boundary of Hampstead Heath. It served as a seat for the aristocratic Murray and Guinness families and had various tenants before it was left to the nation under the care of English Heritage.

Spaniards Inn (
The Spaniards Inn, built around 1585, is a historic pub on Spaniards Road between Hampstead and Highgate in London, England. Dick Turpin is thought to have been a regular at the Inn; and highwaymen frequented this area and likely used the Inn to watch the road. The pub has a great literary heritage. Not only has it been mentioned in Dickens’ The Pickwick Papers and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but Byron and Keats were frequenters with Keats allegedly writing his Ode to a Nightingale in the gardens.

Blackfriar Bridge and Pub
Built around 1875, the Black Friar took its name from the Dominican Friary that existed in the area between c1278 and c1538. Located on a triangular site across the road from Blackfriars tube station, the pub underwent a art nouveau decor remodelling in 1905.

Highgate Cemetery (
Created in 1832 as part of an effort to move burials out of the City of London in response to the twin pressures of the health concerns about overcrowded church yard cemeteries, and desires for build-able land in the rapidly expanding city. The West Highgate section, which is the most overgrown, can only be visited on a guided tour. The East Highgate section, however, including the grave of Karl Marx, can be explored on your own.

St. Michael’s Church Highgate (
Buried here is Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772 - 1834), an English poet, literary critic, philosopher and theologian who, with his friend William Wordsworth, was a founder of the Romantic Movement in England and a member of the Lake Poets.

Eyrie Mansion aka 22 Jermyn Street (Now Gone)

Bates Gentelmen's Hatter (21 Jermyn Street) Store now Gone. (
Bates, the tinyworld famous hatter, had a presence on London’s Jermyn Street since 1898, and supplied stylish hats and caps to discerning gentlemen from their enchanting Jermyn Street shop. The swing sign above the shop, in the form of a giant grey topper with black band and bold block lettering, was internationally recognised, as was the glass case containing Binks – the stuffed cat who once upon a time had been very much alive.

Piccadilly Arcade
The Piccadilly Arcade runs between Piccadilly and Jermyn Street in central London. It was opened in 1909, having been designed by Thrale Jell, and is a Grade II listed building.The main entrance is on the south side of Piccadilly between Fortnum & Mason and The Ritz, directly opposite The Royal Academy. The Piccadilly Arcade contains sixteen high class shops, Piccadilly Vaults, an antique jewellery emporium, being the most notable.

The Tate Britain

Fengshang Princess floating Chinese restaurant (Not Ebert's pick. I thought it was interesting.)

The Roebuck Pub

St. James Park


The Mason’s Arms (Devonshire St.)

Sun in Splendour Pub in Notting Hill

Fortnum & Mason (
Located at 181 Piccadilly, where it was established in 1707 by William Fortnum and Hugh Mason. The store’s history is interesting. 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

At dawn, when you have trouble getting out of bed, tell yourself: “I have to go to work — as a human being. What do I have to complain of, if I’m going to do what I was born for — the things I was brought into the world to do? Or is this what I was created for? To huddle under the blankets and stay warm?”
So you were born to feel “nice”? Instead of doing things and experiencing them? Don’t you see the plants, the birds, the ants and spiders and bees going about their individual tasks, putting the world in order, as best they can? And you’re not willing to do your job as a human being? Why aren’t you running to do what your nature demands?
You don’t love yourself enough. Or you’d love your nature too, and what it demands of you.

-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations