Having conquered Soho, by eating pizza and organic rice cakes in the park and taking on a group of wiseguy pigeons, I decide to take on Primrose Hill next. I had a great time there one New Year’s. Watching fireworks erupt all over London, while a Chinese lantern stuck to a nearby branch and burnt out. Also, Yoda needed walking and this was an adventure he could tag along for.
I pack Z’s bag, sort Yoda and jump on the 29. We get off at Camden Town Station and it’s a quick, interesting walk to the park. The houses are awesome, the kind of massive, “painted ladies” style north London spots no doubt owned by hip UK celebs like Ricky Gervais, Kate Moss and Noel Fielding. We pass a Whole Foods and I try our luck, asking if they’ll let us in with a dog. But when I ask, a blank-faced dude looks at me like I’m crazy. Access denied.
Once we’re in the park it’s a steep walk up the hill. Z sleeps through the whole thing but Yoda’s in full-on explorer mode, taking in the new park and local wildlife – and making sure he pees on every tree in sight.
When we get there, the view at the top of the hill’s worth the trip alone. It’s the kind of panoramic intake of London you’d see in a Simon Pegg movie. No wait, that’s Hampstead Heath. Still, the effect’s the same (and last time I went to Hampstead Heath it looked more like a building site). I stare at the view for the appropriate amount of time it takes to appreciate and pick out a shaded spot under a tree, as Z starts to wake up and wonder where we are.
She’s fine as soon as she sees Yoda, and starts giggling, yawning and taking in her surroundings with the kind of wide-eyed wonder that makes these outings so special. Z’s current objective is walking. That’s all she cares about. And she practices all the time.
The soft grass in the empty park’s the perfect setting for a bit of practice – interspersed with jumping and near-claps. And she has the time of her life. I should have packed a picnic, really. Still, we get a bit of reading done and start to pack up.
On the way home I try my luck again, this time at a coffee shop called Ripe Kitchen. And thankfully, he’s allowed in. I order a flat white and consider the delicious-looking selection of sandwiches and pastries. Next time.
The craft bottle store on the corner completes the happy ending with a free dog bowl of water and we head for Camden Market. If we didn’t have Yoda with us I’d have ordered a Chin Chin Labs liquid nitrogen ice cream and hit the canal. Trust me. It’s the business.
Here’s the honeycomb one I had last time I was in the area…