I love the Uxbridge Road in Shepherd's Bush. It's always alive with madness and bustle and is generally unscarred by popular High Street stores instead being made up of a ragbag of cafes, newsagents and independent grocery stores selling all kinds of exotic and unusual vegetables. The ethnic diversity of the shops clearly demonstrates that the Bush is a melting pot of cultures, coexisting happily enough, which for me is where London is at its best.
Plus there's a Chicken Cottage! What could be better?
I remember when I first arrived at this house, walking up the road to check out my new locale. The sun was setting and the sky was ablaze with colour. It was unseasonably warm and every few yards my nostrils were hit by a different pungent odour from a restaurant or grocers and it was really reminiscent of being abroad. And every few steps took you to a different country. If you can't afford to go on holiday then I recommend a walk down Uxbridge Road on a balmy day. Then you can go sunbathing on Shepherd's Bush Brown. And pretend that you are on a desert island and the never ending stream of traffic surrounding you is some kind of shiny metal, sulphorous sea.
If you're the kind of person who spends Christmas in a service station
, then I guarantee that you'll love this vacation. There's even strange people wandering around trying to sell you stuff. It's just like any beach destination.
Amongst the grocers and cafes are lots of discount shops selling bric a brac and tat for low low prices. What used to be called pound shops, because everything in them was a pound. Nowadays they are more often called 99 pence shops, because shop owners have realised that that one pence differnence means the world to their thrifty customers. Even though most things in there are generally more expensive. Some of the shops get round this by calling themselves 99p+ shops, which is a bit ridiculous as pretty much any shop could make such a claim. If things in there cost more than 99p then it isn't a 99p shop is it? It's just a shop, in which the lowest priced items sell for 99 pence. Does that mean if you sell single sweets in your shop you have the right to call it a 5p+ shop? When I was at school you could get 10 Mojos (a kind of chew) for 1 pence, so was that a one tenth of a pence + shop?
But walking up the road tonight I spotted that one of the shops had now called itself the 98p+ store. They have undercut their rivals and I am sure that customers are flocking to them. Why pay 99p for some bit of rubbish when you can get it for 98p? Of course someone just has to open a 97p+ store and the 98p+ people will be out of business. But no-one has thought of that and it's a risky strategy because there will come a value that will make it financially unviable to sell tat for. Admittedly you are covered because you can sell stuff for any value thanks to that little plus. But most people in these places won't be going for the fancy expensive stuff. They'll be filling their baskets with the items that are 98p and know that they have saved one pence over the idiots who choose to stop in the luxurious 99p shops. For every 98 items you buy you will then be getting an extra item essentially for free.
You have to love Shepherd's Bush. It is the coolest place on earth and the ideal holiday destination.