We haven’t been to the Big Easy for ages (the last time for me was when Sally and family had lunch with us and Will ate all the lobster) so it seemed the best choice for lunch today ahead of our expedition into deepest, darkest Kent.
Mirinda has been wanting to visit the Red House since she heard about it. It was the house that Philip Webb designed for William Morris back in 1859. It is just beyond a place called Crook Log which is on the old Roman road of Watling Street. (The only explanation for the name Crooked Log I have found is that it possibly refers to a crooked branch of a felled tree.) It is also a short DLR then bus ride from the flat. And we decided to go today given we were in town and it was a lovely day…but first, lunch.
Well, I say first…it was after Mirinda Skyped with Fiona during which quite a lot was said about Archie.
The Big Easy was busy but not crowded so we managed to score a table outside that wasn’t in the sun. I decided I wanted two starters so indulged in the calamari and the sashimi tuna, both delicious, followed by an espresso martini (perfect). Mirinda had BBQ chicken Caesar salad which look pretty lush…though possibly not as lush as her strawberry daiquiri.
Nicely full, we then headed for the DLR where we hopped aboard the train all the way to the end of the line, Lewisham. From the DLR platform it is a very simple walk to the buses where we waited for a number 89 that would take us up Watling Street to Crook Log.
On the bus we met and chatted to a lady and her one year old daughter. She (the baby) was the polar opposite of the one across the aisle who screamed a lot. The lady (and her daughter) had been to bible study and were making their way home. I have to say that their bible study class was quite a distance from home. I wonder that there’s not something a bit closer. Still, what would I know, perhaps the bus ride is a big part of it.
The child was very entertaining and the lady told us all about her other child (a six year old boy). It passed the time until we reached our stop.
The Red House is an Arts and Crafts building in the town of Bexleyheath. Morris wanted a rural retreat within commuter distance of London where his practice was. These days there’s not a lot of rural left but back in 1859, it was all farms and orchards and farm buildings.
He and Webb built a Gothic masterpiece with high ceilings, non-symmetrical features and paintings on the walls. Then, after all was done and dusted, Morris only lived there five years before moving to London. It was the family home that wasn’t…really.
Of course, Morris knew all the pre-Raphaelites and the wall paintings (frescoes…sorry Bob) are very much of that style. They do add a certain beauty to the walls where, these days, we’d have bland single hue paint wall to wall. Of course, it helps if you can paint.
We had a delightful stay, chatting with the rather boisterous woman downstairs and wandering the gorgeous garden. Actually the garden was everything Mirinda wants at home (though a lot bigger) and made her very jealous. Mind you, the eleven wheelbarrows indicated how many workers it takes to maintain it.
Eventually, it was time to head back to the flat. Another number 89 bus, this time with a very loud family, a woman sitting behind me who talked continuously on her phone and an extremely myopic chap with unbearable sniffles rather than a jolly baby and her mother.
We then joined the DLR for the short trip back under the river to the flat.
A lovely day it was.