Saturday, 25 April 2009

The Brunswick Centre

Originally designed by Patrick Hodgkinson in the ’60s as a social housing and retail development the Brunswick Centre retail units languished disused for years. The Renoir cinema in it’s midst held out and one little restaurant called ‘The Hare and Tortoise’, with reasonable thai food and moody staff, had queues of office workers at it’s doors of a Friday lunchtime, but other than that it was a scary place. I wouldn’t have walked there in the evening. The flats were tatty, peeling paintwork and rusted windows, until the developer Levitt Bernstein came along in 2006.

Now that is all in the past, a large Waitrose sits at one end and a plethora of trendy shops nestle within it’s uniformly fronted units. 24 hour security ensures no graffiti or trouble with skateboarders. The housing above has been repainted, and all the windows replaced by Camden council. Now, the flats are worth triple the price and highly sought after, and there is even a farmers market every Saturday.

I met Suki there midweek, and had a bitter chocolate icecream and espresso in the sunshine outside Carluccio’s. (Carluccio’s has a baby changing facility in the disabled toilet and provides highchairs). NB: Always leave a good tip, at Carluccio, the staff wages are topped up by them – shocking but true). Suki had mushroom soup and walnut bread and I understood why she is the size of a sparrow and I a motherly old coot. She has been feeding Missy Ella’s Kitchen aswell, but didn’t realise they could slurp them up themselves. Missy did and seemed happy, she’s 2 weeks younger than Erbie, with larger thighs and more teeth, he’s destined to be surrounded by girls. Suki joked that Missy would come to her in tears when they were older saying: ‘He’s talking to that other girl and won’t look at me, he’s my friend’. I favoured the Estelle and Pip scenario! Hopefully neither will come true.

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‘They tuck you up your mum and dad...’
Anon - after Larkin

“Philately will get you everywhere”

“It’s not the despair, I can handle the despair. 
It’s the hope I can’t deal with”

“Each new friend represents a world in us, a world not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”
Anais Nin

‘Come on Dover move your bloomin’ arse’.
Eliza Doolittle