I work in Farringdon.
Or maybe it’s Clerkenwell.
I’m not totally sure what the difference is between the two, but I really like it here in EC1.
I’ve decided to write about it because I’m not really going on Facebook any more, so this is my new platform for making people wish they were me.
Plus, it’s not like you can just rock up to Clerkenwell at the weekend and expect to discover the brilliance.
It’s all over by then.
Done. Finished. Kaput.
And I’m a little bit worried you’re missing out.
Clerkenwell is a Monday to Friday type place.
In that sense it’s a bit like Victoria or Aldgate or Bank, but without the briefcase wielding, red wine-cheeked buffoons milling around yelling “BUY BUY BUY, SELL SELL SELL”.
Plus, no one here would be seen dead using a Blackberry.
As a single lady, it’s difficult not to notice all the men.
They aren’t the estate agent types you get in Angel; they don’t have the TV tans of Soho, and there’s a little less hat action going on compared to down the road in Shoreditch.
In Clerkenwell, you get the strong, aloof types.
You get a man who doesn’t even flinch while accompanying his girlfriend down Hatton Garden, past 30 different shops selling diamond engagement and wedding rings at competitive prices, only to come out the other side bearing nothing but a caramel flavoured iced coffee and a croissant from EAT.
But most importantly, you get a man who isn’t afraid to rock up to the office in rolled up jeans and a pair of pool slides.
Casual. Barefoot. That’s just how they roll.
But the best thing about working around here is lunchtime.
To be fair, the best thing about working anywhere is usually lunchtime, but in EC1, lunctime’s especially good because that’s when all these well-jeaned, excellently shod men congregate on Leather Lane, where every weekday from 11am-3pm, there’s a market.
It’s a bit like Westfield shopping centre, except instead of Debenhams, Habitat and Zara you’ve got table tops selling knife sets, last week’s magazines for £1.50 and children’s books; piles of duvets on wooden pallets, stalls hawking Topshop clothes with the labels cut out and Completely Legitimate Longchamp Bags™, and LOADS of food.
Oh, the food.
You’re quids in for food round here, especially if you like falafel.
It’s pretty serious. There’s even a website dedicated to rating the falafel on Leather Lane and an accompanying Twitter account to update you on the area’s latest chickpea dramz.
It’s basically war.
In fact, rumour has it that you can eat a free falafel-based lunch every day from Chick simply by walking past the bloke giving out free samples 14 times in one hour.
Through recent observations, I’ve concluded that this is a genuine lunchtime strategy for some, but for those not relying on handouts, I recommend Victus and Bibo wraps and the Thai green curry man. Worth the queue, every time.
Aside from the market, there’s a few shops too.
The best one is the off licence where the only permanent member of staff appears to be this fairly nonchalant cat.
Whenever I pass in the morning, he’s always there.
Busy taking stock, advising customers on this week’s best offers, or as on the day when this photo was taken, on security detail.
If you’re in any doubt as to the versatility of the shops in this area, or perhaps you just really want to impress that special someone in your life, opposite Agent Provocateur and next to Wildabout Flowers, you’ll find a magic shop.
An international Magic Shop.
Where they sell books of spells*, perfect for any romantic occasion.
*I have no idea what they sell in a magic shop. Probably anything you want if it’s really magic.
Clerkenwell also has a lot of pubs.
So many pubs.
More pubs than you could ever want or need, located down every road and side street. Pubs, pubs, pubs.
Some have clever yet area specific names like “The Clerk and Well”, while others like The Coach and Horses (Twitter name: Pumpkin and Mice – see what they did there?) focus on providing impeccable value for their many loyal, pissed, and easily confused local workers.
After all this, I know what you’re thinking.
Firstly, you’re trying to remember how up to date your CV is and how soon you can hand in your notice to come and work where I do.
Secondly, you’re wondering:
If I’ve got an urgent letter to post and it’s after half past 6, aka the normal time for letter collections from post boxes in London, where on Earth can I go to post my letter?”
Ding ding, that’s correct.
Rosebery Avenue, in CLERKENWELL.
Honestly, I’m not sure what else you’d really need.
Jill G says
You really sell EC1 well. I mean a magic shop and 7.30 post collection? whats’ not to love. And a great lunchtime market as well – brilliant!
She Loves London says
Thanks Jill. I should work for the Clerkenwell tourist board.