24 February, 2012

Looting & Lunching in Lewisham

A and I find ourselves in Dulwich at least once every week.  A has regular 2-hour meetings there during which I normally read a book or sketch.  It finally occurred to me recently, though, to actually go explore the nearby main road.  There are a few shops that we exclaim over as we drive by every week - "Oh, that looks interesting."  "Ooo, we should try lunch there sometime!" - but never stay to explore. 

Dulwich is in the Borough of Lewisham, which is, shall we say, not a tourist attraction.  It's where real people live.  You know, people like you and me who buy cheap shoes and take our lunch to work.  There is crime, poverty, a lot of subsidized housing.  But it's also clearly experiencing the birth pangs of gentrification; next to the thrift stores and greasy cafes there are sparkling new clothing boutiques and quirky wine bars.  Waiting at the bus stop there are elderly men leaning on NHS walkers, and young hipster girls with topknots and art portfolios.  I wonder what this neighborhood will look like in five years.  Will everyone who calls it "home" right now still be able to afford to live there?  Whose interests and needs will be reflected in the types of shops and restaurants that line the high street?

Today on my ramble I discovered this wonderful vintage/antiques shop tucked into a little courtyard behind a wall.  It's a trove of treasures from the last century of British life!  An irrepressible grin spread across my face the moment I stepped inside; there were birdcages and airplanes suspended from the ceiling, there were worn leather suitcases empty of luggage but full of stories, there was cheery accordion music playing.  The only thing that stopped me from buying out half the place was the appalling finiteness of my funds and luggage space.  I did, however, leave with 2 red letter "G"s, from old cinema marquees, to add to my collection back at home.  Then I popped over to the lovely Blue Brick Cafe for lunch (goat cheese, butternut squash, and spinach tart with salad and beetroot), and it was so warm and sunny that I was able to sit outside!  Dulwich, you're alright.

Shoes and ships and sealing wax...and larger British moths...
A slightly macabre but totally beautiful tea tray.
A wonder emporium.
It won't fit in my suitcase, but maybe it could fly home?
Lunch - Yum!

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