I'M actually looking out through a massive open Velux window, sitting on the bottom with my feet out on the flat roof: Alice Through the Looking-Glass, Adrian Through the Velux.
The view from the front is just on to the street and the TA barracks, all those young lads jumping up and down, trying to be soldiers - not a particularly great view. But out the back here I've got all these other flat roofs which have huge chimney stacks that look like - you know those figures from Easter Island? Well, they're just like that, huge and with a massive dent that makes them look as if they've got faces.
Then just up over the roofs, about half a mile away, is the most interesting thing in the area, which is Alexandra Palace, like a big Edwardian girl having a run across the top of the hill there. You can't take your eyes off her.
Years ago when the place burnt down the local people were actually standing in the fields crying, an amazing thing; my wife was here at the time and she told me about it.
But I think this is the thing about London: everyone here needs to feel they belong to a particular area and that is usually demarcated by a building or park. So here we all belong to the Palace.
It was rebuilt very bravely by Haringey Council, but at one point over the past year there was a move afoot to bring in a private developer with some absolutely horrendous plans . . . there was talk of a golf course, and all kinds of night-clubs up there. It would have been terrible, but I see all that's stopped now. Maybe Canary Wharf has raised a huge red flag over the whole developing community.
We go up to the Palace every morning because we like to take our dog around the grounds - it's a fantastic start to the day. Nature's just the business, you know, if you can get any contact with it at all, especially in the city.
There's another park to my left so we're sandwiched in between a lot of green. I would say most of the oxygen for north London is made from Hampstead to Alexandra Palace - the city's lungs are up here.
There's an apple tree, a pear tree, an oak and a birch, all very close to the end of my roof, and I sit and look at those because the birds fly into them and they're all up to things, all keeping busy.
Right now I can see a blackbird, a female blackbird, which has just flown into the tree. They are the best singers in the bird world as far as I'm concerned. I'll try and get a tune out of her for you, just one second (he begins whistling). Now just hang on, she's looking around, she's very interested . . .
They usually start the song off with that sound, and then it gets more and more complicated until you have to give up; so what you can do is have a kind of conversation with them, then eventually they get pissed off with what you're doing and they start bouncing two notes off one another and doing all kinds of weird things.
But I'd better stop or I'll make this place sound like some kind of Elgarian haven. People will stop me and say: 'You didn't tell them about the dole office, did you?' It's a bit crumbly, but I like Crouch End.Reuse content