Depending on your direction of travel, you could do worse than start with a stroll through the beautiful Clissold Park. Until recently a rundown, marginally unsafe place this classic Victorian park has had a major facelift and is now very pleasant. The restored house in the middle of the park is well worth a visit and a nose around. If the sun is shining then a light refreshment in the garden café is in order, although avoid eating anything substantial in the main café inside. The quality is good but you might be waiting a long time for it to arrive!! Continue on to Stoke Newington Church Street and have some fun browsing the great range of independent, funky stores. For a light lunch, the Spence Café (178 Stoke Newington Church Street) is highly recommended, particularly the smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel, or the chocolate brioche.
Daniel Defoe was an English trader, writer, pamphleteer and spy in the 17th and 18th centuries. He is now mostly famous for his novel Robinson Crusoe, although he wrote over 500 books and was a major contributor to the rise in popularity of the novel as a literary form. His early career was as a merchant, trading in various goods, and he achieved enough success to buy a country estate and a ship. However, he was also laden with debt, a burden which would become harder and harder to bear. In 1703, Defoe was arrested and charged with libel for a satirical pamphlet he had written a year earlier. Sentenced to three days in the pillory, Defoe survived (and spawned a legend of having flowers thrown to him rather than the usual rotten eggs) and was brokered out of jail by a victim of his satire, the Tory Robert Harley. The price Defoe had to pay was to agree to become a spy for the Tories, a role which he duly performed, although he continued to work surreptitiously for his own side. Defoe played a key role in the Union of England and Scotland in 1707, but his political career came to an abrupt halt with the Tory defeat in 1914. It was then that his prodigious writing really began, although his famous novels came later, in the final decade of his life. He died in 1731, aged 71.