Firstly, thank you for all your super great feedback on my last blog – although I’m still waiting for feedback from my parents who normally give their review. One of my favourite things about my dad is that when he’s had a bit to drink he takes me aside and tells me I should write more. Once he convinced me I was funny. But I’m not sure if I dreamt that or if it was just me, drunk, convincing myself.
Now, on to business. I want to put in writing just how much I love my street; it spawns new amusement for me each day. It’s quite unlike any other street I’ve lived on, in that it has a variety of basic shops that somehow manage to be comic. I really love it – it suits my need to over analyse normal, everyday things.
1) The Bakery Obviously my first port of call. It sells bread combinations I’ve never even seen before – and I’ve lived in Paris, where doughy carbs are more valuable than the euro. It has rye sourdough with caraway seeds, large sausage rolls that are so stuffed with sausage you wonder if it’s a snack or the weeks calorie intake, plus a whole shelf for old, stale bread leftover from the weekend. I once asked for a rye loaf and the woman replied “There aren’t any left and I can’t give you the old bread from the weekend because it’s stale”. Well then what are they doing out for sale? Are they now so old they’re collector’s items? They also open the bakery door at 3am on a Sunday morning and lay out all the pain au chocolats for the market. On my way home from a night in that turned into tequila, they gave me one. I was actually lured in, at 3am, by the smell of baked goods. Can you imagine such a life? It was unforgettable. For that, I forgive them the cage like exterior – a shopfront that is primarily made of cage. Almost definitely so it doesn’t get broken into. But also perhaps so spectators can peer in at the, by now, extinct breed of breads in their natural habitat.
2) The Shop This is the strangest shop I’ve ever known. It’s filled with sewing machines, rolls of fabric and people sewing. Not just during the day; until about 9/10pm at night. On their street facing wall they have a large motif that reads: ‘Just Keep Sewing, Just Keep Sewing…’, which is hopefully a nod to Finding Nemo and not a desperate bid to let us know they’re actually all being kept in there for slave labour. The weirdest part is, there aren’t ever finished products. All that sewing and yet there doesn’t seem anything to show for it. Today I walked past and they had a sign that said ‘SALE – MUST GO TODAY’ To what are they referring to? Their poor, needle pricked fingers?
3) The Estate Agent This is no Dexters or Savilles. This is next to my front door and constantly baffling me. I’ve even discussed it with people outside on the street. It’s a brown building, with windows that you can’t actually see through. On the inside of the glass panes are, what look like, pictures of houses for sale. Except there’s no details on there. Nor is there anyone inside. AND THE LIGHTS ARE NEVER ON. Yet…I kid you not, I see people queuing to get in. They disappear in, never to come out again. Whatever they’re offering in there, it’s more than your 2 bed in SW9.
4) The Restaurant A deli offers its wares on the corner, opposite the sewing shop. It has live music on a Friday night, yet there’s only ever three people in there, being serenaded by a woman with a banjo. It has a TV inside, which often shows football. It’s the quietest deli in the land. Last weekend, I got off the tube, a ten minute walk from the deli and heard shouting and whooping. (Yes, whooping). As I drew nearer to the deli, my suspicions were confirmed: a football match had been won. There were men, everywhere. In the street, on the pavements, on top of cars. On top. Traffic was piling up. There were flags being waved, so big that I got trapped in one of them and had to do a strange crawl, slink backwards towards my front door. However, it was actually really enjoyable to watch people be so happy and proud. The deli owner looked the happiest; there were now at least five people in there.
I’ll finish with this sign that someone had put up in the ‘Estate Agent’ window. It makes my day everytime I see it, to imagine the kids sitting down to draw it. I wonder whether it was their own doing or not. It’s enough to make you want to quit smoking. Or have kids.