Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My Own Little Piece of Heaven

I honestly couldn't think of a better place to live. Kensington Church Street is known for antiques; it even has its own Antique Dealers' Association. I've often wondered how such shops survive, and in the past few years I've seen quite a few close down as more mainstream shops take over their premises. I always feel sad when that happens, as if a little piece of our utopia has been overtaken by capitalism (which it has, I guess). But surprisingly, most seem to hang in there despite the quirkiness of their goods for sale: elaborate chandeliers; Japanese war armour; and mammoth bed frames, to name a few.

Typical antique shop on our street.

In its 1-km long stretch from Notting Hill Gate to High Street Kensington, there are three shops dedicated solely to wine; three nail bars; at least six estate agents (although there may be fewer now); and four hairdressers. Gives you a good indication of what the residents of the area are interested in -- alcohol; property and appearance. I started to feel a wee bit jaded about our neighbourhood.

But last March some of my faith in the future of the street was restored with the opening of a brand new bookshop, Persephone Books. And recently, Chegworth Valley opened their first store just beside Waterstone's bookstore.

And of course, it's hard to miss Churchill Arms, famous for its Thai food (oddly enough). In the summer with our windows open, the smell of frying garlic wafts through and it's all I can do to hold myself back from ordering a steaming plate of Pad Thai.

Churchill Arms.

Our street is on the bus route for the Big Bus Company, a tour operator whose open-top buses roar by every fifteen minutes or so. One summer, The Man and I were out on our balcony, enjoying our dewy glasses of kir on a warm evening. As the tour bus went by, several tourists raised their pretend glasses to us in a silent 'Cheers!'. As we lifted our glasses in response, contentment washed over me. For some, our street was just one more stop in the tourist merry-go-round. For us, it was home.

1 comment:

Ellsea said...

That's so beautifully written, I *almost* want to live in London.