Sunday, 29 March 2009

Plumstead High Street...abandoned?

Yesterday we beat a hasty retreat from a planned shopping trip on the high street as the heavens opened up and threw masses of rain down on our heads.
Today, it was a sunny day though clouds loomed. We decided to walk to the high street. After navigating the push chair past all the roadworks on Lakedale road, we ambled along a virtually deserted high street. Along the road shared by Barclays bank there are lots of shops to let. Sad to see the old Co-op shop is still available.
I wanted to buy some veg to make a shak (curry to you) and other odds and sods. The old Cash and Carry is usually quite good but this time I found the veg to be old and rotten. In all we tried about 4 shops and didn't find anything tempting.
To make myself feel better, we stopped off at Sarai sweetmart. I have always loved the brightly coloured boxes sweetmarts sell matched by the lovely sweets that go inside. So we left laden with a box of delights and also two small bundles of bangles for the tot.

Then across the road but not before I snapped a shot of this building. It's in serious disrepair - like many of the shops in the street. But if take the time to look, the design is quite pretty. I guess it will eventually get torn down.

The tot managed to lose one set of bangles in yet another cash and carry. We spent some 10 mins crawling around the floors and among the bags of dhals, lentils and various spices to no avail. They had vanished into thin air.
My mood darkened and we left the high street and turned upwards towards the Common. We managed to stop off at Superfruits and pick up some veg (still not as fresh as I would like but beggars can't be choosers).

One thing that struck me is that of the five shops we visited, none of the people spoke English well. And since I don't speak Punjabi or Urdu, I found it hard to make myself understood. These people must miss out on so much as they don't speak English. And before anyone jumps down my throat, I speak from experience. My mum tried very hard to learn English, even going to evening classes after a hard days work. Unfortunately, she didn't master it. This didn't stop her working for years in a Jewish bakery shop where she was popular with the clients (some of whom spoke Hindi - one of 3 languages my mum did speak). However, she missed out on the shows we watched and conversations with our dad to whom we spoke English. I always used to find it funny that she would insist on reading the newspaper and watching the News at 10. Now I kinda find it sad.
Anyhow, we climbed Griffin Road, and I stopped off in the newsagents to get milk. The Asian guy in there spoke English with a cockney accent. So its not all the same over Plumstead. Then after letting tot out to walk, we slowly made our way across the Common, past more roadworks and the odd set of pipes near the recycling. Then slowly, home to a late lunch.

Does anyone know of any plans for Plumstead High Street - it just seems so dead now.

P.s. Interesting history of Plumstead here. Some of my neighbours who are ancient biddies, were probably around at the time of the Plumstead Common act!

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