Monday, 3 November 2014

God's Own Junkyard

Long-overdue hair cut, lunch with my Hugh, a journey on the X1, games, walking and talking with family, new house-friends, London walks, pumpkin carving, Halloween fancy dressing followed by much needed bed/home-made pizza recovery and a day of antiquing, tea & cake, Brick Lane browsing and roast dinner eating; it's been a busy half-term week as always.

In a quieter moment I found myself re-visiting posts from a year ago when I finally moved into London properly, and they got me thinking; I haven't been on so many 'proper' Laura adventures recently! This sudden realisation meant that the thought of a full week to myself was almost a little daunting. Nevertheless, at the same time I suddenly became very excited indeed, and a plan was formulated for Friday (a week 'to myself' was not lonely at all once I'd filled it with people, so Friday ended up being my only day alone)!

I discovered the existence of God's Own Junkyard in an article I read in the Evening Standard on the train back to London from Kings Lynn. It was literally just referred to in the article, but the concept of a gallery full of neon signs was more than intriguing, and when the website talked of

'New & used neon fantasies, salvaged signs, vintage neons, old movie props and retro displays',

I knew I had to see it for myself! The 'wonderland of creativity' (as it is also described) is located in Ravenswood Industrial Estate in Walthamstow, so even my route there was full of excitement! Going Northbound beyond Seven Sisters felt very strange indeed, but once I had alighted from the train and began to follow directions from the very lovely lady of Google Maps, I found myself in Walthamstow Village and forgot all about my disconcertion. From Central to the Village, it was as though I had stepped through some sort of teleportation device; an absolutely magical and surreal place, and as it transpires, the perfect place to find a treasure trove of neon! As I practically skipped along, truly in my element (I really do love anywhere with a faint likeness to home), I came close to my destination, taking a final left turn down the road claiming to provide me with pedestrian access to the industrial park... instead I was confronted with a very large, very locked gate. Not wanting to look too shady, I gave it a very meagre nudge and nosied through to ensure I was in fact in the right place before dashing off in my usual manner of 'I know exactly what I'm doing/where I'm going' and abandoning Google Maps to find my own way round to an alternative access point. 

Finally, I found my way in, and just... wow! It was so much more than I could have ever imagined, neon heaven! I was so overwhelmed by the entrance alone that it took me a moment or two to recover myself from temporary paralysis on the doorstep. Upon finding use of my legs again, I made my way inside very slowly, not at all sure where to look; neon covered every surface from ceiling to floor, creating the most magnificent blend of light and colour. Next thing I knew I found myself sitting in the café (yes, there was a café, as if I wasn't already happy enough!) for a cup of Earl Grey. I say I 'found myself' there, by this point I was in such a hypnotised state, I was glad of somewhere to sit down and to take in my surroundings in more detail at a slightly different angle. I became particularly entranced by the bright green bulbs above my head which reminded me very much of sitting on rides at the fair when all you can do to avoid absolute terror is stare at the bulbs as you whizz around and around or up and down. They were still calming when sitting still. An hour later and I finally mustered the will power to stand up again and take one last gentle wander around, just in case I'd missed anything (or mainly because I didn't want to leave) before thanking the salesman who informed me that the gallery was currently looking pretty empty (!?) and tearing myself away. 

The sense of being 'back to reality' when I sat on the train again was more than depressing. I have never been made to feel so happy by something so unexpected, but I absolutely intend to return soon now I do know what to expect (and come on, there's TEA. As if I can resist)!