I had to pick up some clothes from the dry cleaners/menders on Camberwell Church Street today, but had to make a quick detour via Clerkenwell first as I’d left some meat in the fridge at work. As the wife’s out having lunch with a friend, I made it a leisurely voyage and allowed myself the luxury of stopping frequently to look around me.
What it reminded me is what a lovely place Camberwell can be; lots of Georgian & Edwardian terraced housing; long, straight leafy roads; little parks and squares dotted around it; plenty of sports facilities; nice pubs & bars.
What lets the whole area down is what most people see: Camberwell Green and its surroundings. Traffic-choked, dirty pavements, an abundance of off-licences and no shortage of clients for them. It doesn’t look nice, it doesn’t feel nice; it isn’t nice.
At the end of the voyage I dropped into the menders to pick up my clothes; two pairs of trousers, both of which had been fixed well, and at a very reasonable price. The name of the shop escapes me at the moment; it’s on the side of Cruson/Sophocles, further towards the Green. I’d like to know the story of the co-owner who, tragically, died on his 50th birthday, but I’m afraid to ask.
I noticed that work is still ongoing in the former Zara’s Kitchen; whatever’s going to open there, it involves a substantial refit. The former Rumeli has now definitively changed to Grills, etc. KFC is having a refit too; at first I thought they’d closed down, but no such luck. Still no sign of life in Angels & Gypsies.
Finally, a few nights ago I was in the Spar on Vestry Road, where a young man and his girlfriend were buying chocolate. Nothing seemed amiss, but the young man suddenly said “I want to shoot someone tonight, man; I feel like shooting someone up”. I wanted to slap his silly little baby-gangster face.