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Saturday, 3 September 2011

A Postcard from SW19 - Staycation Snippets

Tunbridge Wells
The sun gods chose to ignore my plea and so Tuesday's visit to Tunbridge Wells was overcast and chilly. Never mind, I was there for a purpose - to visit every one of the 14 charity shops in the town. I went prepared with a town centre map, a list of the shops and a bag of carrot batons for sustenance.

It was a long schlep but I visited them all. About halfway, I realised the carrot batons wouldn't see me through and refueled on a slice of home made broccoli quiche and a skinny cappuccino in a small cafe whose interior opened out into a branch of Cotswold clothing and equipment shops. I sat eating my lunch staring at a display of thermal gloves and hiking socks.

Tunbridge Wells wasn't as elegant or refined as I'd thought it to be and the charity shops weren't bursting with worn once designer cast-offs but I caught the train back to London clutching a carrier bag of pleasing purchases. A brand new pair of shoes for £6.50, a worktop saver for £2, a collectible Sylvac bowl for £3 and a kitsch souvenir of Gruyere plate for £1.

Due to go to Bexhill, slept instead.

Romford and the Ritzy
Not a shopping destination but a visit to my friend Beth and my baby god daughter Rhiannon. It's only the second time I've seen Rhiannon and, just like at her christening, she was fast asleep. We finally got her awake after much prodding and clattering about. She opened her eyes, gave me a smile and fell back to sleep in my arms. Beth and I left Rhiannon with her gran and went for lunch and a good catch up.

Full to the gills from our Loch Fyne fish lunch, I headed back to London to meet my pal Paul. We were going to The Imbetweeners at the Brixton Ritzy. It was crude, smutty and very near the knuckle ...... but then we finished our conversation and went to see the movie.

The sun gods came good. I spent Friday afternoon on the sun lounger in the back garden, reading my book, listening to Gershwin on the Ipod and inhaling the woody newness of the garden fence.

On Saturday I made another attempt to get to Bexhill. Nope, still couldn't be bothered to get up early. Instead, I took the number 200 bus away from the chicken shops and mini marts of South Wimbledon, up the hill to the boutiques and eateries of Wimbledon Village, where I sat outside the Rose and Crown with a guilt-free slimline tonic and a guilt-laden cigarette, watching the well-to-do of Wimbledon saunter betwixt designer shops, al fresco lunch dates and the organic grocers.

Tomorrow (Sunday) I'm flogging all the useless crap I've accumulated at Battersea Car Boot Fair, in order to get money to buy more useless crap.

Next week I may get to Bexhill.