Hackney's Broadway Market at the south end of London Fields has a bit of an edge to it. Shops dispensing goat's cheese in ciabatta and a Costcutters; a Situationist bookshop - one of three bookshops in this not very long street - next to a hardware store. And then at one end, the less than might glory of the Regent's canal.
Leaving aside Stoke Newington Church Street, which is (can't resist it) a touch hackneyed and past its prime, Broadway Market is the epitome of Hackney cool. So cool that is bound to be lambasted any day now by Iain Sinclair and others who rejoice in the Hackney grime of the 1970s.
But I think this Broadway is every bit as tasty as my pastrami and cheese on rye.
Of all the pastimes I might perhaps wish to try out, paintballing wouldn't be in the top thousand. But if you have a twelve year old son with a mission, well, you just have to tack to the prevailing wind.
So it was that I spent today trying to capture and then defend an Afghan fort made of hay bales, and to protect and then kill a 'Black Hawk Down' pilot on the edge of a massive crater in the woods of Hertfordshire. If I had more stamina, I might also have rampaged through a Vietcong Village and otherwise relived some of the key military encounters of the post-colonial era.
Verdict on paintballing - worth doing once. The problem is, I suspect my son wants to go again.
I came across this one by chance - fantastic views over London (particularly looking north and east) from the top (16th) floor of the Novotel St Pancras on Euston Road. I could make out Hampstead Heath, Highgate cemetery, the Holly Lodge estate and Alexandra Palace, and could see the ring of green beyond suburbia.
There's not a single shot of the view on the Novotel site, and while there's a small viewing space on the 16th floor, it's not developed as a feature. And I didn't have a camera with me - so you'll have to take my word. But it's absolutely worth a dekko.