Sunday, April 17, 2011

Abbey Mills

Today we decided to stick closer to home and walk over to Merton Abbey Mills, which is about a mile and a half southeast of our apartment in Wimbledon.  We'd seen a flyer for it at the library, and it sounded kind of interesting.  It's an old textile-printing mill on the Wandle river that was once used by William Morris and has been re-purposed into a complex of shops, restaurants, a children's theatre, and a weekend crafts fair.  Although it is now surrounded by big-box shopping centers -- and is across the street from a KFC and Pizza Hut -- it feels like a little oasis of quaintness in the midst of suburbia.
Entering Merton Abbey Mills
The Wandle River
The original buildings are still standing, although one has been converted into a pub, where we ate lunch, and the Wheelhouse, which was once used to wash fabric, is now a pottery studio.  The wheel powers the potter's wheel in the studio.
Inside the Wheelhouse
Apart from the pottery, the crafts were somewhat disappointing, but we still thought it was neat to find such a cute little piece of history so close to home.  It's nice to know that there are some attractions that don't require a 40-minute tube ride into central London.  We had some delicious crepes at a little Belgian cafe and then headed back home.  We needed to pick up some groceries, and had forgotten that most grocery stores close at 5 pm on Sundays.  Since we are used to grocery stores being open until midnight, or even 24 hours, this will require some more thoughtful planning of our shopping expeditions, especially once I have a job.  For now, it's easy for me to run out to one of the 3 or 4 stores within a 5-minute walk of our apartment and pick up a few things every couple days.

We walked back at top speed and made it to the Morrison's by our apartment by 4:40.  We grabbed as much as we could in 20 minutes -- including heavy stuff like juice, milk, and bottled water that is hard for me to carry home on my own in large quantities -- and made it out the door just as they were closing.  Now we are trying to do laundry, which takes FOREVER, and catch up with email, etc before dinner.  It was another lovely spring day here, and it looks like we have several more coming up this week, so I'll have to plan some more expeditions so I can enjoy it while it lasts.  Sorry to hear that the weather has not been so kind to many people back in the States!  I'm sure our time will come...

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