In the second week of 2015 I find that the 2014 Chippy Challenge will not die quietly. Only 6 days after the most recent entry (and nine into the year), total has risen to 128 with the addition of yet another at London’s St Martin in the Fields.
You may know SMitF as a music venue with recordings and radio broadcasts of classical music, or you might recognise that it is a proper church with services and a history of theft and oppression (and a modern ethos of outreach to the homeless that includes never shutting its doors), and museum quality sculpture and paintings.
But, if upon entering turn left and take the door ahead of you to a staircase down the basement and you’ll find a very good and enormously popular (and cheap for this part of London) cafeteria where you can get a pot of tea or a beer or a full meal then eat it whilst sitting on the graves of monks from the depths of history. [St Martin’s other cemeteries are scattered around the neighbourhood which house permanent residents like Robert Boyle, Thomas Chippendale, and Nell Gwynne.]
We had tickets for 2 o’clock entrance to an exhibit called “Anarchy and Beauty: William Morris and His Legacy” and were going to stop in for the free lunchtime recital at St Martin’s but our coach trip hit traffic and we missed the start by about ten minutes (bugger). Peckish, we headed downstairs to the Bedlam of the Cafe. Jackie just wanted soup and a salad but the parsnip soup put her off so we both had the Friday special of fish and chips. Delicious, but I remember why we avoid the place weekdays between noon and 2: the lunch crowd is enormous and we wandered with our trays five minutes before we begged a couple of seats with an old woman sitting alone (and when she left we were almost immediately joined by two more, then two others claimed our seats before we even stood to leave).