Room 311

Posted on 29/03/2020 By

Room 311

Bertie, wearing his Sutton United scarf, in the window of Room 311.

Back in January 2016, we had an amazing piece of luck. Maybe we deserved it after losing Diddley just a few months before. I could see Bobby was restless. Suddenly, he had time on his hands. Suddenly, the worries of Diddley’s illness had subsided. Suddenly, he had freedom thrust upon him. A freedom to do what he liked. Amazingly he found that Diddley had two bank accounts. One, he knew about. The other, the bank told him about. The other was a funeral fund she had set up. Quite substantial. Was it to help Bobby, or maybe it was more likely she wanted a “bloody good send off”. And that’s what she got, of course. There was money left over and we took the whole family on outings, including eight of us to the Nutcracker at the Royal Opera House at Christmas. A matinee, that included four granddaughters. All in Diddley’s memory.

For some time he had received the Spitalfields Life blog every single day. And now, the Gentle Author (GA), was offering a course in Spitalfields. “How to write a blog that people will want to read”. Should he, shouldn’t he, should he? Go for it, Bobby! And he signed up for the course that January. Paid for by Diddley. So excited, he rang friends of a similar persuasion.

“I hope you wont be offended, but K… has booked that course and would rather you were not on it!” “Well, actually, I would find her presence less than conducive to my creativity.” And he contacted the GA and eventually went on the next course the following May.

May in Fournier Street was wonderful. Ten creative souls, over two days, at which the concept of Mindfully Bertie emerged. And, most importantly, he met Tim and Tracey who are now great friends. Living on a canal boat. Tim, an IT expert, who now produces Mindfully Bertie as the Technical Director, leaving me and Bobby to create the stories. Four years had passed and he never forgot that weekend in Spitalfields. A weekend that led to him emptying his rucksack and sticking me in it just three days later. Another two, we were up the Eiffel tower. Followed by three weeks touring Europe on trains. I hate that rucksack, but loved the adventures that were all featured in Mindfully Bertie at the time.

Bertie in the rucksack wearing sunglasses and a hat.

Bobby holding Bertie in Paris.

Those were the days, my friends

And now, the GA had announced that the courses were coming to an end. Two extra “Advanced” ones were advertised for those now writing blogs. Envisaged as a reunion as well.

We chose the beginning of March and I went as well to enjoy the adoration of the other writers. They had heard about me, of course, but never met me in person. It was a lovely weekend, with truly creative people. One that enabled Bobby (and me) to whisper to himself. “I am a writer. I am unique. I don’t need people to tell me this. I do my best.” (But secretly, he is only human and quite likes compliments from people who write too).

So there we were. Back in Fournier Street, in a 400 year old Huguenot House steeped in history. A room that couldn’t fail to inspire you. But that room is not the main feature of this story. That honour belongs to Room 311.

A whole weekend was enhanced by staying overnight in the Hub, a Premier Inn in Brick Lane opposite Fournier Street. Having stayed before, we quite expected another view of a brick wall in Brick Lane. Instead our room gave us a vista beyond belief.

Bertie in the window of room 311, with the view of Fournier Street to Christ Church and Spitalfields.

Wowwww. What a view. Fournier Street. Christ Church. Spitalfields. Saturday afternoon.

Bertie in the window of room 311, with the view of the sunset over Fournier Street to Christ Church and Spitalfields.

Saturday evening.

Bertie in the window of room 311, with the view of Fournier Street to Christ Church and Spitalfields all lit up at night.

Saturday night.

The Mosque in Fournier Street illuminated in red.

The Mosque. Illuminated and changing colour.

The Mosque in Fournier Street illuminated in light blue.

The Mosque in Fournier Street illuminated in dark blue.

Bertie in the window of Room 311 with the street name "Brick Lane E1" visible outside.

Brick Lane.

Bertie in the window of room 311, with the view of Fournier Street to Christ Church and Spitalfields at dawn on the Sunday morning.

Sunday morning.

Bertie in the window looking over the chimney pots on the roofs of buildings at the corner of Brick Lane and Fournier Street.

Lurking over the chimney pots…

Close up over the roof of the building on the corner of Brick Lans and Fournier Street the tops of the scalpel and the gherkin can just be made out.

…we can see the “Scalpel”, the “Gherkin”, etc etc.

Bertie in the window of room 311 looking just to the left of the building on the corner of Brick Lane and Fournier Street, where the Shard is just visible.

and even the Shard.

Bertie in the window of room 311. The view of Fournier Street leading to Christ Church in the background. Next to Bertie is a bottle of water with a label saying "Take me, I'm yours".

We did!

The chimney pots of Spitalfields. The magnificent Christ Church towering above.

The chimney pots of Spitalfields. The magnificent Christ Church towering above.

View through the window at a jaunty angle. Bertie and Bobby (wearing his hat!) are on the left,

He loves that ‘at!

The Hub, Brick Lane. The window of oom 311, with Bertie sat in it, top left.

The Hub, Brick Lane. Room 311, top left. See me?

Close up of Bertie in the window of room 311.

Close up of Bertie in the window.

The Beigal Shop, Brick lane.

Breakfast in Brick Lane.

And no, it’s not a spelling mistake. If anything, the Beigel is the original. It is hand made to a traditional Polish recipe. See here for a bit more info!

Bobby, using the mirror to surreptitiously take a selfie! He is wearing his hat and has a beigel stuffed in his mouth.

Breakfast in Brick Lane. Two Beigels, one cup of tea. £1.90.
(Costa cup of tea alone £2.50)
He loves that ‘At!

Bertie sat on the threshold of 31 Fournier Street.

31 Fournier Street. What memories.

31 Fournier Street. Bertie is sat on the threshold of the fron door.

31 Fournier Street. Once Rodney Archer’s House. Our stepdaughter Amber lived in the top floor for a while.

Link to the Spitalsfield Life Blog on Rodney Archer.

Link to our blog on Amber.

Bertie, wearing his Sutton United scarf and a hat, sat on the vintage hat stall in Spitalfields Market.

He loves ‘Ats. Spitalfields market.

Close up of Bertie, wearing his Sutton United scarf and a hat, sat on the vintage hat stall in Spitalfields Market.

Posh ones.

Bertie, wearing his Sutton United scarf, sat amongst the flat caps on the vintage hat stall in Spitalfields Market.

Common as muck ones.

Close up of Bertie, wearing his Sutton United scarf and a flat cap, sat amongst the flat caps on the vintage hat stall in Spitalfields Market.

But “right on mate” from Sarf London to the norf.

Bertie, wearing his Sutton United scarf, being held by the Spitalfields Hat Man, who is wearing a flat cap.

Cheer up, mate.

The Townhouse, Fournier Street. First floor for the course.

The Townhouse, Fournier Street. First floor for the course.

Bertie, wearing his Sutton United scarf outside The Townhouse, Fournier Street.

Five minutes to go to the second day of the course. Just a few minutes walk from Room 311.

Bertie, wearing his Sutton United scarf, looking up towards the top of Christ Church tower.

Christ Church… A long way to heaven.

Lighting a Candle to Diddley in Townhouse, Spitalfields.

A candle lit for Diddley on a cupboard in front of a gargoyle.

Candle lit for Diddley on top of a cupboard. There are some books on top, a gargoyle behind, and Bertie, wearing his Sutton United scarf. to the side.

GA… “Ta mate”.

– – – – – – – –

Spitalfields    


  1. Avatar Shula says:

    Completely wonderful
    Many many thanks for sending this to me. I loved it
    Cheers – shula

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