Spitalfields 2017.

Posted on 07/01/2018 By

Spitalsfield Life: Beigels.

Christmas Day Morning in Spitalfields 2017.

A few years ago Bobby read a glowing book review of Spitalfields Life. By the Gentle Author (GA). He bought the book. Took it to Skomer Island and read it avidly for a whole week. Little did he know that was the start of an adventure. Not just in words, but in footsteps. Culminating in waking up this Christmas morning in Spitalfields with just me, a teddy bear, for company.

Along the way he joined the GA’s daily blog. You may like to read his promise to see if this is for you.


Spitalfields Life: "In the midst of life I woke to find myself Living in an old house beside Brick Lane in the East End of London."

“In the midst of life I woke to find myself Living in an old house beside Brick Lane in the East End of London.”

Spitalfields Life: In "The Hub".

In “The Hub”.

Two years ago we lost his beloved Diddley. The months passed and he noticed in the daily blog that the GA runs courses. “How to Write a Blog”. He pondered and then thought maybe this is the opportunity he had been waiting for to exploit his talkative, unrestrained nature. Two days, with twelve creative souls, started with a blank sheet. Or rather – a rough story for discussion on the course. He wrote: ”A footbridge I loved”. It was never used, but will reappear in 2018. The blank sheet was how, why, when, what? No idea. But talk of a teddy bear led us to where we are now. Mindfully Bertie.

The success of the blog is not gauged in figures as he doesn’t even look. He loves comments. So the more the merrier. But one thing is certain. He could not have been enjoying the blog with me without the Technical Director Tim. Together with wife Tracey they were, by good fortune, on the same course as Bobby. An offer to help with the IT side of blogging was gleefully accepted. We write the words and gather together the music, pictures, and other information and set them in a rough blog. Tim does the rest. The presentation is his. We couldn’t do Mindfully Bertie without him. Maybe the GA also has a team. I won’t ask him. He is the figurehead. Just as I am. But thanks Tim. And Tracey. And Oakley as you sail the Inland Waterways of Britain on your narrow boat Sola Gratia. Bon voyage.

Spitalfields: l-r: Tracey, Oakley & Tim

l-r: Tracey, Oakley & Tim

Time to get up in the Hub. The Premier Inn, ideally situated in Brick Lane. A Christmas morning carol service in Christ Church is planned but nothing else. What follows is a pictorial story of the walk before lunch in Spitalfields. Our spiritual home. With apologies for where we strayed over the border.

Walking down Fournier Street (where Amber once lived) to Christ Church, for their Carol concert. On, via various streets, back to Brick Lane for “beigels” served by the delightful Farel in the company of customer Steve. On around this historic yet eclectic maze of streets, with fleeting views of Christ Church rising majestically to the heavens. And back to the Hub. Where, if you choose, you can sign in, stay and leave without talking to another human being. How different to the seething mass of humanity that has graced Spitalfields from every corner of the globe over the centuries.

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Lighting a Candle for Diddley.

Spitalfields life: Light a Candle for Diddley and for Amber, my sister Wendy and my old dad Sid who died on Christmas Day 1969.

And for Amber, my sister Wendy and my old dad Sid who died on Christmas Day 1969.

Christmas Day. Christ Church Spitalfields.

Christmas Day. Christ Church Spitalfields.


  1. Carole Brennand says:

    As always it’s an interesting read Bob. I like the way you evoke the feel of places, especially London, my home town. Happy and good New Year.

  2. Baby Ball says:

    Rekindled memories of my short spell living in Rotherhithe – the 24 hour bagel bakery in Brick Lane was fantastic!

    • Bertie says:

      “Beigel” in Brick Lane as opposed to “Bagel”. The GA explained it in a blog.
      Come with me sometime back to Brick Lane. I’ll show you around and we can have beigels for lunch.

  3. Justine says:

    Lovely post and Happy New Year to all! Brings back memories of the GA course and like you, I’ve rediscovered that I love the written as well as the spoken word!!

    • Bertie says:

      Thank you Justine. That course changed everything for me too. But you have a little something one day for a soon to be famous teddy bear. See you in Spitalfields hopefully.

  4. Bernard says:

    Good collection of photo’s makes a trip well worth it.

  5. katherine says:

    I love Spitalfields… so rich with history and atmospheric. thanks for sharing your alternative Christmas day…wandering around the streets of London when no-one’s about sounds heavenly. Looking forward to reading more fascinating blogs in 2018…

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