Where I work: Lunch at Joe’s


Joe’s Kitchen
5-7 Marshalsea Road, London, SE1 1HL
020 7939 1490

The area that I work in is famous for it’s culinary delights.  At the top of Borough High Street, you can find the world famous Borough Food Market which is open to the public from Thursdays to Sundays.  All the way down Borough High Street and around the neighbourhood, you can find any type of restaurant that you can imagine from brands such as Subway and Costas; Lebanese, Italian, Indian and Chinese restaurants; numerous traditional English pubs and many greasy spoon diners that have earned Borough High Street the nickname of Cholesterol Row (I wish I could find a reference for that but for now you are going to have to take my word for it).

Last week, I was really keen on something fattening and satisfying for lunch.  On a previous outing, I had noticed Joe’s Kitchen tucked away around the side of Borough Underground Station and I thought I would give it a try.  As usual, I desperately needed a break from the office and I have been trying to uphold my promise to take at least one lunch break a week.

Joe’s Kitchen is delightful.  They have a really unique menu and I loved the decor and atmosphere.  The best thing about the place is the absolutely superb service.  With so many restaurants in the area, I try not to go to the same place twice but I will definitely go back to Joe’s.

I was dying for comfort foods and was in no position to battle my cravings, plus I happened to have ten whole pounds left the day before payday.  This is important because with quality comes some expense at Joe’s Kitchen although they aren’t actually as expensive as some of the specialist restaurants in the area.

So, for £10 I got a massive baked potato with chilli beef and sour cream on (less than £7), a really yummy lemon iced tea with fresh mint in (£2.25)and I was able to leave a 10% tip.  Like I said, not the cheapest place but I really enjoyed it.

Day out: Canterbury Cathedral

Part 1: Canterbury

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you may have noticed back when we went to York that I love churches and old architecture (actually, I love all architecture).  When my friend’s husband insisted that he wanted to visit inside Canterbury Cathedral, I was definitely keen to join him.

Canterbury Cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral, 23 May 2009

The first cathedral was established by St Augustine when he arrived in Kent in 597.  (The name ‘Canterbury’ is derived from an old English word meaning ‘Kent people’s stronghold’).  It was rebuilt by Archbishop Lanfranc between 1070 and 1077.

As usual with these magnificent old buildings, there is amazing and intricate detail in the stone work.

The first part of the cathedral that you walk into is called the ‘nave’.  A nave is a central approach to the high alter in a cathedral and it is a big hall-like room.  It was absolutely breathtaking, too.  The Lanfranc nave was demolished and rebuilt as seen today between 1377 and 1405.  It is perhaps the finest surviving example of English Perpendicular Gothic architecture.

Please click on any of the photos for full sized versions.

There was a memorial to lost knights and soldiers at the back of the nave which was interesting because it had so many ancient flags from past conflicts.



The statues represented the various knights and it gave quite an impression of England’s long and bloody history.

Between 1098 and 1130, the ‘quire’ was built over the crypt.  There is some ambiguity as to what a quire (or choir) actually is but it seems to have started off as the part of the church where the clergy sat and these days often includes the area where the singers are.  We couldn’t go into the quire as an evensong service had started so we went into the crypt.

The crypt in Canterbury Cathedral is a quiet place where the treasury and the Jesus Chapel are located.  The style of architecture in the crypt is Romanesque. 


I have to own up and say that you are not meant to take photographs down there but I took a few without flash where I was quite sure it wouldn’t cause further erosion.

We all found the treasury to be a bit creepy.  It is one thing seeing the ostentatious wealth of the monarchy in the Tower of London but these bejewelled, solid gold crosses, staffs and bowls belonged to the church and that was eerie to see.

I made me wonder about how different the world would be today if separation between church and state had not occurred.

Despite being underground, there was a lovely, natural light flowing into the Jesus Chapel.  We were very amused to discover some 260-year-old graffiti.  Street artists, let that be a lesson!  If you are going to do it, make it worthwhile for people to see in three centuries time!

After a long afternoon of walking about Canterbury and the cathedral, I sat down in the nave and listened to the evensong.  I do not subscribe to any religion in particular but I found it to be such a beautiful experience.  I have uploaded a brief video of what I could hear at YouTube.  My feet were killing me by then (and I wasn’t able to wear proper shoes again today).


Before we left, the three of us sat in the nave a little longer.  I looked up towards the area above the alter and wondered who might have appeared in those windows in the past.  It looked dark up there – do people still pass along those passages?

After one last vision of beauty and the architectural and design wonders of ages past, it was time to leave as Stephen had begun to wonder where we were.


Day Out: Canterbury

My friends arrived from Manchester and we went to Canterbury today, which is a city near the east coast of England that is famous for its massive cathedral and the Canterbury Tales.  Canterbury has a phenomenal history and there is evidence of the area being inhabited since prehistoric times.  There was a wall built around the city in Roman times (they left in 410BC) and the wall was rebuilt in the 14th century.  We walked along a portion of the wall on our way into the town centre.

I love walking on city walls and my favourite walled city is up north, in Chester.

Canterbury was bombed heavily in World War II.  Statistics like this give me the shivers: “During the Second World War, 10,445 bombs dropped during 135 separate raids destroyed 731 homes and 296 other buildings in the city, including the Simon Langton Grammar Schools, and 115 people were killed. The most devastating raid was on 1 June 1942 during the Baedecker Blitz” [source: Wikipedia]. 

This is the tower of St George’s Church and it was all that survived after the blitz.  It was famous because it was where playwright Christopher Marlowe was baptized.  Seeing things like this just makes me sad and I suppose I get even sadder to think that human heritage continues to be bombed and destroyed the world over.

Canterbury reminded us all of York except that the men remarked that there seemed to be more older buildings in York than in Canterbury.  We soberly realised that this must be because of the effects of the blitz.  That is Canterbury Cathedral in the background in the photo above and you can see the beautiful gated entrance to the cathedral complex in the photos below. 

We discovered this strapping young puppy waiting like a good little boy while his owner bought some fresh meat from a street vendor.  What a gorgeous young thing!  Okay… back to our trip around Canterbury…

In the photos above, you can see “The Royal Museum and Free Library”.  What a gorgeous, old building!  I received a fair amount of teasing from everybody because I had insisted on visiting the library on our way out today, so that  could stock up on some new books to read.  Everybody thought it would be a great idea to drop me off here while they went to lunch!

The city of Canterbury is on the River Stour and you can go on a river boat cruise for £7 for adults or £6 for children.  A couple of us really wanted to go on a cruise but it didn’t pan out that way.  Instead, Ste and my friend decided to go explore the parks while I went to Canterbury Cathedral with her husband and son.  I’m going to dedicate an entire post to the cathedral.

All that we saw of the parks was the gated entrance as we headed back to the car.

We had decided to leave Canterbury at about 3pm because my friend wanted to go to visit the seaside and walk along the beach.  We drove down to Margate which was so abysmal that we didn’t even stop the car, never mind walk on the beach.  It was horrible to see the decay in this once grand seaside town – it was little crumbling down!

Anyway, our short time in Canterbury more than made up for it and it was a lovely day!

South Africa 2009: Pringle Bay

On 4 April, we went to Pringle Bay to go to my friends Gyda and Kenneth’s wedding.  The ceremony took place on the beach and it was such a beautiful setting.

Walking down the aisle


The setting was absolutely stunning and the reception was held in a nearby holiday house overlooking the beach. 




The reception was stunning and I have to say – this was the best wedding I have ever been to, apart from my own of course.  The entertainment was a live jazz band and they were brilliant!  Everyone danced the night away and it was just fabulous; Gyda and Kenneth’s families sure know how to dance!  It makes me want to take dancing lessons.  The meal was a lamb on the spit with fresh fruit pavlova for dessert.  I adore Gyda and Kenneth and I am so happy that we took the trip down to Pringle Bay to spend their wedding day with them.

South Africa 2009: Kalk Bay

On the morning of the wedding, Stephen and I went for a drive in the car to find somewhere to have a spot of breakfast. We landed up in the quaint little town of Kalk Bay.

Kalk Bay

Kalk Bay is a bay side town with a railway line running alongside the water. It is surrounded by mountains on the other side. I think I would be very happy living in a beautiful little town like this.

Kalk Bay main street

We chose an amazing little restaurant for breakfast. To get to it, you walk under the railway station and land up right by the tidal pools. I spent a moment just looking at the sea and… well… recharged.

Kalk Bay Harbour

The name of the restaurant was the Brass Bell and apart from the food being absolutely amazing, the setting is idyllic too.


Those are surfers you can just about see in the swell there. I wasn’t fortunate to catch any of them surfing but then there weren’t too many good waves that day either. Stephen had the Kalahari Gold breakfast which was the smoked Springbok and I had a poached egg Not So Hungry breakfast.

Emm in the Atlantic

I had to take a step into the ocean but the water is absolutely freezing here! The icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean and the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean Ocean officially meet at Cape Agulhas which is further east from Kalk Bay and there is no hint of the warmer waters here!

Anthology Kalk Bay theatre

Artvark Gallery

Many of the buildings in Kalk Bay are of the old Cape Dutch style. The church above was converted into a theatre and I loved how they converted the Artvark art gallery from traditional Cape Dutch into a more modern style.

I would absolutely recommend to everyone now that they take a holiday down to Cape Town one day. There are so many beautiful places to visit but alas, we had so little time. Kalk Bay is an absolute must and it is obvious that I fell in love with the place. Later in the year, I will post the pictures from our visit to the Garden Route (aka our second honeymoon) in 2003. A highly recommended route for tourists is to drive from Cape Town to the Garden Route.

I never though this would happen but as I write these posts about South Africa, I get the first tinges of homesickness in almost two years!