Shop sights

The threatening tattoo on the tightly muscled man at the bus stop turns out to be of Winnie the Pooh in the hundred acre wood.

In the bright clear morning, a grey faced man in a battered green anorak and felt boots, lined beyond his years and looking like Strider in the Fellowship of the Ring but with a bottle leaning heavily in his pocket makes heavy weather of pushing a bike away from the shop.

The slightly plump proprietor of the Afghan greengrocers in Colindale – a tiny labyrinth that still has the floor tiles of the chemists it used to be – crammed with humming refrigerators of Halal meat – fruit and veg that varies from fresh to salvageable, shiny aubergines, bright red vine tomatoes – a new continent of  dried fruits and seeds, golden raisins, red raisins and apricots and nuts with unknown names – caves of biscuits and gur – alcoves of tins and pickles – a wall of unknown Persian pastries -lolls behind his tiny counter like a Pasha; wearing a contented smile and one of those Afghan hats that looks like a pie made of felt. He gives us a good deal for Mangoes.



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