Monday, December 17, 2007

Christmas Carols.

So far, I’ve not heard Slade’s, ‘So here it is, Merry Christmas’. If I do, and I doubt it will be on Queen’s Rd, that will be the time I roll down the shutters, put the answerphone on and retire from all festivities. That and that bloody Roy Wood, Wizard one really, really piss me off. Gripe over. I do like the effort that the Queen’s Rd. businesses have gone to with all of them having a tree. Must be a sign of improved income as I think this is the first year there has been complete unanimity. Bar Dos Hermanos/Barcelonetta take the biscuit for bewst deco’s, so they will get my hard earned later in the week when I venture out for one to take the edge off. Might have two.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Always a queue.

There was a time, some ten years ago, when everyone was concerned that Queens Road was going down hill. There were several empty shops. The shops that survived were (with notable exceptions that still thrive) offering nothing special in terms of service or products. The turning point came when the Quakers 100 year rule ended banning pubs from Queens Road. Hogan's Bar opened immediately. From then on things improved. One person invests, so do other on the back of it. Some four years ago Jackson's appeared on the scene, putting the lacklustre Spar out of business within weeks. I hate supermarkets, their bright lights and cunning ways of overcharging you and convincing you it’s a special offer simultaneously, but Jackson's is offering residents what they want from 7 to 11 every day. Oddly, their planning application to expand was refused as locals thought it made Queens Road too busy!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Large chest for sale.

The ads posted in shop windows are always addictive. I bought a garden pond in the summer for a fiver. Took all weekend to dig it in. The Newsagent splits the ads into two sections, conveniently. This side for odds and ends and the other side for accommodation. Having a roof over my head I am always drawn to this side and read every ad. The red heart is a rather touching ad from ‘Frank’ seeking a ‘trustworthy woman, as friend and probably more!’. Items for sale first appear it ridiculously high prices, then drop week on week to the true value. ‘Thomas the Tank Engine Bed, cost £400 (sucker) accept £150 (no chance)’ phone Johnny 07922960728.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Sole Man.

So far south, he’s only just still on Queens Road, is Jan Kirski, of Superfine Shoe Repairs. I first photographed Jan in his shop about 15 years ago, and then again today. Nothing has changed. He doesn’t even look any older. He is 82, not a bit dodery and as sharp as anybody. Jan was in the Polish navy as a lad and married a Leicester girl, moving to here in about 1953. He is still married to her and they live quite close in a ‘nice house’. He bought the shoe repair business as a going concern from a chap who was retiring. It had once been a fishmongers, hence the tiles, but has been a cobblers, continuously for about 70 years. Jan’s only major investment was to buy a German scuffing and polishing machine when he first bought the business. This has now given faultless service for 50 years, needing only replacement v belts and recently (in the last 10 years) a new electric motor. Entering, it is a living, breathing, smelling museum. NOTHING has changed in about 70 years. If you are ever down this way, take an old pair of shoes in, just for the experience.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Smooth Tarmac.

About 10 years ago, planners, planned, in some remote office where the coffee is tasteless and the girls have thin lips and no waistline, that Queens Rd should have traffic calming humps. Bastard speed humps top the rest of us. There was uproar amongst both shop keepers and residents and for once all were mobilised into defeating this menace together. Many letters were written and phone calls made and it actually worked. We won!! The French would have simply blocked the road with turnips until the council were drawn to their knees, but we actually did it the English way and won. I still can’t really believe it but just look how smooth that tarmac is.