Peckham, Bellenden Road, South London Gallery and accidentally beyond

As I sit here halfway through my day having lunch just off the main road but surely gentrified part of the block I await a croque madame at Levan

I headed this way to check out Peckham Levels which I had seen listed as a place to grab a weekday lunch, an indoor, trendy market. Let me just say NO. On every level in every way do not follow in my footsteps to Peckham Levels but feel free to enjoy the rest of the day. Or go on up to the 5th/6th floor. You head from the train station out to the street, turn left on the High Street, go a block or so until you see the cinema on your right, go on it and around to your right, halfway down the alley open the door to your left and start climbing the bright stairs… The view was super. The inside as old, dirty , desperate and claustrophobic as it appears.

But me, no, thats not how I started…GI exited the overground station on the main road (and turned right) and the smell of fish markets wafted from store fronts. There was not a tempting window to look into nor a restaurant to shop at. After a minute or two I took out my trusty Citymapper to confirm I was headed in the wrong direction and of course I was. Before I left the house I had created a walking map and I could not have been more off track. Seeing this as a sign to keep walking and echoing in my head assurances that London is safe I walked on and I am happy I did.

Clearly it is an area experiencing change. At some point during my limited reading the question was raised “Is this the new Shoreditch?” So on I went eventually turning off the main road into a more residential area.

I saw a wonderful garden

Gnomes Live here

A great sign

And then I reached Bellenden Road. Lovely, little, welcoming, and a few places to shop and lunch. I was thankful for my English Villages book as it sent me around a corner to….

A closed chocolate shop to return to… Melange, open Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday

A photo display from the areas earlier days was hung on a fence housing an old church or perhaps school.

A General Store where I learned that Sally Clarke has her own shop and got myself a little chocolate and a salted caramel cakelet ( a small cake, perhaps a tart, or petit four). Sadly nothing is made on premises but they had a lovely selection of cheese and meat and I even spotted pate in the refrigerator .

I saw a dim sum restaurant only open for dinner

So my lunch arrived and such promise until bite two- mustard- why… really. So I had lunch light. And will remember to ask in the future to please leave OFF the mustard .

Then on to the South London Gallery which is housed in two separate building about a half a block apart. The 10 minute walk took me from the restaurant around to a main road, both pretty well filled with discount shops and other non-descript items.

A super interesting place to house a gallery which had not at all super interesting exhibits.

I arrived first at the Firehouse

and I kid you not, you walk in to what appears to be the back of the exhibit. I had a bit of a private tour as I was the only one in the place and I nabbed the young girl working there. I dont want to put her job at risk but she confided that what we were looking at really didn’t do it for her either. I am left once again wondering what is art, who decides, and how did this get here. Even more shocked when I learned the artist works in collaboration with her 11 year old daughter. Can you say ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Artist/ clothing designer Susan Cianciolo has really found a way to make the system work for her so who am I to complain?

Then on to the main space where the one room had a photo exhibit by a local of the locals. I do like to glance at photos of other people and I am sure someone out there will not like what I say but if they need another exhibitor, I have a photo album they could look through.

As usually happens I see other things on these wanders that catch my eye. Here are a few of them

and notice also the for sale sign, the neighborhood is filled with them.. gentrification in action

A neighborhood park, a disinterested mom, and three small children

How nice that the city wants you to know they are taking care of things. This is government working for the people.

Read an article recently how the renters under the arches are organizing to keep there rents stable, and there were plenty of them here. Including the Serous Pig.

And of course to finish on a strong note I went home via the wrong platform- so, knowing full well I was doing the wrong thing I got on a Thameslink Train. I assure you I saw nothing, did nothing. I went two stops and turned around and went home. Happy.

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