Leather and yarn, a dangerous discovery

The nicer weather is one of the things that encourages me out of the office at lunchtime, the other is of course not bringing lunch from home. I’ve a simple need, which includes food at lunchtime, but that’s probably a whole other post. Although I will say, bringing lunch from home has quite quickly become habit and one that’s easy to do, and obviously much more cost effective.

After having my nails done the other week, I’ve set myself a new promise to get myself out more at lunchtime. There’s plenty of shops to mooch around in Greenwich town centre, and my plan was to head to the bag shop to have a browse and replace a bag I bought from there many years ago, which has sadly now stained. But before I got there, I got distracted. I’m not sure what caught my attention but I soon found myself in Coco Barclay, a shop I don’t think I’ve been in before.

a table of trinkets and more

It’s main purpose is for handmade leather bags and purses, but there’s plenty more. And it was the plenty more that caught my eye. The bags were lovely, but there was so much more. The leather tassel nearly came home with me, and now I know where to go when I need a bag to go with almost any outfit. In fact I think that should be any outfit, as I think if they don’t have what you want, they’d relatively quickly be able to find it and no doubt do exactly what you want.

A basket of glittering bags
something to look at more closely throughout the store

These caught my eye, the multi-coloured one especially. But as I was on my way around the corner to the bag shop I resisted…

fringed leather totes

There were cards too, which is always useful to know for those card emergencies. There is a great card shop in Greenwich, but sometimes having something a little different works well, and these hexies on a card blank are just that. It’s also a great idea, which I’d never thought of before.


It was they type of shop that had something to see everywhere you looked, especially for me the lover of colour and patterns. Patterned eye mask anyone?

woolen eye masks, the prettiest patterns
A pile of wraps and shawls

Or a pile of wraps or shawls?

And remember that tassel from earlier, there was more. Leather tasselled jewellery. I do like a long necklace, and these were gorgeous.

leather pom pom jewellery

MOH has just asked what I would like for my birthday, I didn’t know - but maybe now I do. I also remember what caught my eye and enticed me in. There was a small sign that said there was wool, so of course I was going in.

just some of the yarn at yarnorama

The small basement was full of wool and shawls, and that’s why this shop was a dangerous discovery. So close to work, and so much loveliness.

Downstairs in yarnorama

But on the plus side, it should get me out of the office more!


Discovering the story behind the Baltic Exchange Gallery

Just a short post from me today, and another one that I've been meaning to share for a week or two. A couple of weeks ago I told you of my bonkers week and of my lunchtime visit to the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. My plan for that lunchtime was to scout out inside places to spend my lunch hours, and to check out the cafe there too.

I decided to take in one of the galleries while I was there, but soon found myself diverted towards the Baltic Exchange Gallery. It's not something I'd seen before, either in person or on the signposts so I was intrigued to see what I'd find there. I never expected it to be this.

Stained glass from the Baltic Exchange at the NMM in Greenwich


I was mesmerised. So much so that I spent my lunch hour in this relatively small space taking in each of the windows, and the story of how they'd painstakingly been restored after they were damaged by a terrorist bomb in the early nineties. I think partly the fascination was I remembered that bomb as I was working in the City at the time. I remember the devastation and the shock of the event, but had no idea these windows existed, their story, how much they were damaged and how much work went into piecing them back together.

That all changed in that hour though.

The information boards alongside these windows were excellent and told their story in a compelling way. I can sometimes flit through a museum and its exhibits, but these held my interest.  So much so that I had no time to fit in a visit to the cafe, so I think that tells you all you need to know.

The windows were commissioned shortly after the First World War and formed part of a memorial to the sixty members of Baltic Exchange staff who lost their lives during the war. They were unveiled in 1922 and consisted of a half-dome with five large windows below it. 

The information board told me "the subject is heroic and likens the British Empire to the Roman Empire." 

A section of the restored Baltic Exchange stained glass window

Above and below are excerpts of the two outer panels of the dome which names the major battles of the First World War.

Part of the restored Baltic Exchange stained glass windows

The half-dome is over three metres in height and is just fabulous. Standing in the middle you get the most wonderful sense of history and my photo below hardly does it justice. If you're in Greenwich, then you really should make time to see this as however I describe this, I know I won't be able to do it justice.

The half-dome stained glass window from the Baltic Exchange London

While I stood learning about the restoration work I was completely oblivious to The Virtue Windows behind me. Originally these would have been under the panels of the half-dome. And you may have already worked it out but they're named for the Virtues of Hope, Fortitude, Justice, Truth and Faith, which the Romans established as qualities that all humans should aspire to.

What a way to spend a lunchtime.  

the Pigeon Pair and Me