Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Saturday Urban Walk

What a beautiful sunny frosty morning it was! On a day like this it's a crime to stay indoors, and I decided to have a walk through town. By the time I got to Warren Street the tubes began to get crushed with Christmas Shoppers so I got off and started to walk.
The camera on my iPhone has stuck on 'Video' and won't budge. I would have liked to photograph the vintage tiles in The Dairy Cafe, with their kitsch portraits of Friesian cows and grass. I delighted in the shabbiness of the cafe, which the men in suits will plan to steam-roller into oblivion once they realise it's there, in order to erect a monument to fashion branding, or an outlet for a cafe chain.
Left, right, I walked, I turned, and found myself in Marylebone High Street, where I once found a fantastic oddly-shaped checked dress in the Oxfam shop that I wore until it became threadbare.
The Conran Shop was packed, and I listened to the floorboards creak under the weight of well-heels.
I popped into Divertimenti and marvelled at the different pastel colours it's possible to buy an Aga in. I went into the Oxfam Shop but my checked dress wasn't there. I had bought it about ten years go, you see.
I went into the Scandi shop and thought about Norway; there were lots of elves and lost of wholesome wooden toys. I was tempted by the Moomintroll scissors, but left them in their safety case.
I stopped for a coffee in a Lebanese cafe (what superb coffee!) and headed for John Lewis's perfume department where a French gentleman tried to persuade me to buy some very expensive perfume, but I settled for a hearty squirt from the sample bottle on each of my wrists.
I walked down across Carnaby Street and through Soho, bouncing though the crowds like a ball in a bagatelle game. Berwick Street is being 'done up' so I imagine the stalls won't be able to afford the rent hike that Westminster Council will introduce. Hooray Henries and their Hurray Wendies will take the place of the horde of 'straight' gay stall holders who used to sell weeping whole cartwheels of Brie and tin bowls of grapes and red peppers; sourdough bread and organic pheasant will be on sale instead to service the bankers that now inhabit the once-seedy upstairses.
Soho used to be a scary place but also a mind-your-own business place. Oddly, going out at night in Soho felt a lot safer than going out in somewhere like Kilburn, which was full of drunks looking for a fight or an argument with anyone, whether male or female. Soho had trannies and sex workers and embarrassed clients who would do anything to avoid drawing attention to themselves.
I didn't go to the comic book shop today, but carried on to Covent Garden. The Dover Bookshop seems to have gone. What a pity! I liked browsing through their peculiar and quirky titles. There are upmarket vintage shops there now. Covent Garden is still interesting, just. High-end fashion shops are starting to cluster in the area but confident little shops like The Natural Shoe Store and Les Nereides, which sells mad French ear-rings, send semaphore support signals to shops like Stanford Maps that seem bewildered still to be there. Should I carry on to Charing Cross, and perhaps cross over the river to Waterloo? I scanned the entrance to Leicester Square tube station; it was reassuringly empty of travellers.
Time to go back for a cup of rosy lea before the crowds decided to head home.

1 comment:

Michael Caine said...

Written by Helen McCoookerybook currently starring in
the 'Get Carter' remake