So this is the New Year? From where I’m sitting, it looks very much like the Old Year. Not that that bothers me. In fact, it’s reassuring. We cats are fascinated by novelty (as long as it is amusing) but we prefer it in small, manageable doses.
We celebrated New Year in a low key way. We started on Saturday by going to Brixton. The ostensible reason for this expedition was breakfast. Why go all the way to Brixton for breakfast? Well, why not? Brixton is a fascinating place. I am tempted to say it’s a different world. For one thing every other shop seems to be a fishmonger’s. Brixtonians certainly love their fish. The main thoroughfares stink of fish. And hairdressers: I think there must be more hairdressers in Brixton than in the rest of London put together. Mind you, there a lot of hair in Brixton.
Brixton is also a place of markets and market stalls. I have never seen shops as small as some that I saw in Brixton, literally so small that the shopkeeper couldn’t stand up in them. The fun of Brixton for the casual visitor is that many if not most of the shops are of a style that could loosely be called “ethnic”. The same quality applies to the music that throbs out everywhere you go, whether from shops selling music CDs or shops merely playing loud music.
And nail bars. Loads of nail bars. Being “nail-aware”, I couldn’t help noticing the many boutiques where you can get a manicure or, rather, have your nails enhanced by “nail art”, airbrushed into a riot of colourful decoration.
And of course, cafes. Where there are markets there are always lots of cafes. We looked at several but they didn’t fill the bill. We eventually found one in a market arcade that seemed to provide a suitable breakfast for a now hungry pair of cats. It had the right steamy atmosphere and a nice cream decor. Also smokers. There are few things worse, when you are eating, than having some idiot huffing cigarette smoke at you. Smokers are possibly the most selfish people in the world. So Tigger proposed we eat outside. I wasn’t keen on the idea and the accommodation was in the form of four-person picnic tables with the chairs bolted to the table. They were a bit of a squeeze to get into and even worse to get out of, but we managed.
You will be unsurprised to hear that we chose the full vegetarian breakfast. Mmmm, love that breakfast. So we sat and ate, watching the stalls and shops and passers-by and listening the music thumping away in the background. It beats cornflakes on the kitchen stool.
After breakfast we went for a wander and saw a few more fishmongers, hairdressers and nail bars. And butchers. There are a lot of butchers’ shops in Brixton but probably not as many as fishmongers. When we had tired ourselves wandering, we went into a cafe for a cup of tea then took the bus for home.
One of the things I love about London is the way it packs in such a variety of people, styles, types and communities. We tend to walk about looking around us at eye level. We should also raise of eyes and look at the buildings. There is so much history there. Tigger is fascinated by architecture and so a walk with Tigger is like a guided tour through London’s architectural history. She continually points out the beautiful, the elegant, the quirky and the curious. London has so much to see and is continually changing so that I think it would take a lifetime to explore it and that you would still be coming across new things that weren’t there last time you went that way.
That was Saturday. Well, some of it. I’d better leave the rest of the New Year’s weekend for another time. Happy New Year. Unless you are a smoker.