On a chilly October Sunday morning I sprung out of bed, super excited about the next stop on The Great Bear Project.  I love having these firmly in the diary, getting all the wherewithal together, cooking whatever the relevant dish is in the morning then heading out into the world via the Northern Line to present the dish to the roundel!

Presenting a Pola Negri Banana Trifle to the High Barnet roundel – stop #1

Stop 5 was Finchley Central, aka Lauren Bacall,

I chose her Potage Cressionnèire as an appropriate dish to take on a little day out.

The main ingredients of Lauren’s soup are watercress

and potato.  I love my electric potato masher and rarely use it, so enjoyed the making of this soup very much.

The potage looked great…

and was duly presented.

I poured some from the thermos into my super-cute soup thingies (again rarely used so a bit of a treat)

had a little taste

What was it like?

Me likee!

I drank the whole bowl.

The following conversation then took place.

Me: “Would you like a taste?”

Mr R: “Not reaaaaaaally”

Me: “You have to!  It’s the Great Bear!”

Mr R had a taste

His reaction

“It’s not as bad as I thought it would be.”

So there you go!  I loved this soup, and Mr R endured it (he’s not a fan of creamy foodstuffs).

I totally forgot about my plan to blow on the soup and say Lauren’s classic line…

What a missed opportunity!

However, I’m already practising my Bette Davis line for the next Great Bear.

lovely artwork by Trevor Heath

As soup wasn’t really a full meal we exited the station and made our way to a pub we’d spotted online for a Sunday roast.  We were intrigued by the mention online of FREE TOP UPS OF ROASTIES, YORKIES, VEGGIES AND GRAVY.  Could this be true?

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Yes!  We love you The Catcher in the Rye, Finchley!

This Sunday lunch was absolutely delicious and I heartily recommend this pub for Sunday lunch.  Even though they served BIG SHARES,

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we managed to avail ourselves of the free top-ups.  

Yum, yum.  All in all, a fabulous Great Bear day!

Mr. Rathbone’s Station Factoids

Originally opened in 1967 as Finchley and Hendon on the Great Northern Railway’s line between Finsbury Park and Edgware, it was renamed Finchley in 1872 shortly before an extra branch from the station to High Barnet was opened.
A further name change to Finchley (Church End) took place in 1894, and it finally received it’s current name nearly 45 years later in April 1940.
It still retains much of it’s original Victorian station building and canopies and is therefore one of the oldest parts of the entire Underground system, predating the earliest deep level sections of the Northern Line by some twenty years.

Finchley Central is also strongly associated with Harry Beck, the man who created the modern ‘topological’ tube map as we know it, who lived nearby and regularly used the station.

Apparently inspired by an electrical circuit design he was drawing (he worked as an engineering draughtsman for the London Underground Signals Office) his radical idea for creating a full system map in colour in the early 1930s has become recognised as a modern design classic, and although there has been much tweaking over the years the current tube map still adheres to his original vision and concept.

He is suitably honoured by a commemorative plaque on platform 3.

In 1967, Finchley Central became the title of a hit single by 1920s revivalists The New Vaudeville Band, the 45rpm record (and subsequent LP) being housed in a picture cover featuring Harry Beck’s iconic tube map!


Thank you Mr. Rathbone, you have excelled yourself with Finchley Central!  

Look how impressed Lauren is with you!

Lauren Bacall’s Potage Cressionnière

“This recipe has been chosen by me as a favorite recipe for the simple, logical reason that I had it for the first time on my first trip to the most beautiful city in the world, Paris.  It was a happy time, as it always is in Paris, so I pass this on hoping that a flavor of the city of the chestnut trees will be felt by all who have Potage Cressonière.”


1 lb potatoes

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 pints milk

one bunch of watercress

1 oz. butter

Serves six to eight


Peel the potatoes, quarter them, and boil them in salted water until tender.  Drain, crush them with a potato-masher, and when free from all lumps add the boiling milk and salt.  While the potatoes are cooking, wash and pick the leaves off the watercress and chop roughly.  Add to the soup and cook for 5-6 minutes.  Take off the fire and add the butter.  Pour into a hot tureen and serve.

Next stop 








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