Later yesterday evening, a musician friend and I went to Hampstead for a drink in the Holly Bush, which I can happily report remains unchanged at least since 1980, when I last visited. What a strange feeling to poke my head round a doorway, looking for an empty table, and see the exact place I sat for one company Christmas lunch back in the days when I worked for the Ham & High (that's a local newspaper for those unfamiliar with it). Felt almost like I was looking back in time.
The nice man who seemed to be security (OK, so some things have changed!), took us upstairs for a private view of a beautiful room and told us how the pub was originally the stabling for the local houses' horses. "When was it converted into a pub?" my companion asked.
"About 250 years ago."
Ah, well, that explains all the fine coving and fireplaces and such like then!
After our drink, we looked at our options and chose d) Wandering around Hampstead as our rest-of-evening activity. So that's what we did, just poodling down little alleyways, discovering dead ends and quiet corners. One door had the words: Kit Kat House written on the window above it and underneath the year of its construction: 1745. I took a photograph, but as already explained, with no flash there really wasn't anything to look at. You'll just have to trust me when I say, it felt as if we were wandering around an old village where very little has changed in centuries - except, of course, the prices. The going rate for a house seems to be in the six to seven million bracket...