In search of the South East Passage – fabled overland route to Sydenham is “just a myth”, insists Connex. “We may be lying in the gutter, but we’re looking at the trees” – Mile End’s new green bridge bewilders local alcoholics. “To hold eternity in the palm of one’s hand” – could that single to High Barnet be the last ticket you ever buy? “Do you want chippy with that?” – informality of London’s new cafe culture blamed for rising levels of staff insolence. Retro-chic in Seven Dials – “Victorian look probably bigger now than in 1887” claims big-eyed boutique owner. Squatting in islington – is removal of chairs in hip Upper Street brasserie a step too far for minimalism? S&M in B&Q – photographic proof of monkey now required to buy monkey wrench. “A small white wine and a well-oiled naked gladiator for the lady” – if Streatham is the new Rome, why is Balham still full of goths and vandals? Discovery of four‑and‑twenty blackbirds? New Greggs pasty filling prompts TfL to commission new structural report on london bridge. Reflections on the DLR – why Shadwell’s sneaky vampires prefer bank to Tower Gateway. Clogging London’s arteries – our food critic effuses over Holloway Road’s Gourmet Mile; and then also over the back‑seat of a minicab. Headless torsos turn up on Hackney Marsh – “worst car-boot sale ever,” admits organiser.