Thursday, April 17, 2008

Mr Patel’s

Alas, poor Mr. Patel. If he could see his shop now he would turn in his grave. When we first moved here in 1982, Mr. Patel’s was our nearest corner shop and many was the evening I would walk 100 yards down the road to buy a can of Carlsberg Special Brew to take the edge off. He and I would discuss a test match with India, who if playing, would be on the radio for the duration of the game. An enterprising chap, he was one of the first to set up video rentals, but this was not enough to secure a long and happy life. He moved on to that big cash and carry in the sky about 20 years ago and bit by painful bit the shop has drifted into dereliction. A compulsory purchase order was slapped on it before Christmas and it’s up for auction on 31st April with outline planning permission for a four bed house. A big job for somebody.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Shut that door!

A stroll round to Queen’s Rd to buy some parsley for the Moules Marinere I’m cooking later, took me past two corner shops and prompted me to record the others in the immediate vicinity. Within an area that can be no bigger than an acre there used to be myriad shops selling pop, crisps and sweets, limp vegetables and alcohol, some cashing in on the video rental boom in the mid eighties. Most have changed use to domestic houses now, but here’s a selection that I can just about identify. I’ll release them over the next month, individually, to keep up your excitement!
SW1 Hairdressers has not been in the current ownership for long, and has the look of a business in decline. There is a heavy mesh at the window to keep out intruders, but it has the effect of frightening off, would be customers, as you can’t see into the darkness they cause. The shop used to be an unlicensed ‘one armed bandit’ emporium back in the early ‘80’s, then an Antique Shop, before becoming a Hairdressers about 15 years ago. Up until recently it was run by a very camp man and he catered for the blue rinse brigade and was always busy. You could hear him gossiping from my house 200 yards away. “Ooooooooooooooooooooo, really!”