Our High Streets are dying. Those in the smaller towns seem to have more Charity Shops than any other single outlet. Even Bournemouth’s Castlepoint yesterday failed to produce a particular present about which I must, at the moment, be discreet, for fear of the intended recipient sussing.
Before Jackie drove me to Southampton Parkway for my London trip we therefore did some research on the Internet. Carrying this information and my memory, I sought suitable shops once I arrived at Waterloo. This involved walking the length of Lower Marsh; back to South Bank; across the Golden Jubilee Bridge to Charing Cross; along The Strand; and finally up St Martin’s Lane. All to no avail. Both the Lower Marsh and South Bank establishments were now Japanese restaurants, and the other two had become coffee shops. In the words of the song ‘Fings ain’t what they used to be’. The Internet information had been posted in March, and I had seen the South Bank and Strand stores thriving within the last eighteen months. Were I to reveal what I was looking for I imagine my readers would speculate that on-line shopping has done for these businesses. I may let you know my quarry after 25th December.
On 19th July I had seen Charlie Chaplin striding along to his performance venue. Today, at his pitch, he was receiving significant gleefully embarrassed attention.
On the way to Charing Cross underground station to take the Bakerloo line to Baker Street where I changed to the Jubilee line for Neasden, I passed a crowded Trafalgar Square, in which the French seem to have acquired a stake. Their emblem was in temporary residence on the otherwise empty plinth.
Norman’s lunch consisted of tender, meaty, roast duck; red cabbage; carrots; and a tasty vegetable and potato bake with which we shared an excellent Italian red wine. A latticed plum flan was to follow.
Afterwards I took the Jubilee line to Bond Street where I alighted for Oxford Street and the last throw of the dice in the game of ‘Find the Present’. I threw a double six, so I won’t have to give up and buy it on line.
Later, I took my usual route back home from Rochester Row. Jackie was, as always, on time to meet me at Southampton Parkway.