London Thoughts II: Squalo(u)r

The neighborhood where I grew up has changed.

Gone are the little shops down the road where we bought our groceries, fruits and vegetables.

Gone is the bakery where the smell of fresh-baked bread tantalized us every morning.

Gone is the Fish ‘n’ Chip shop that was so crowded on Friday evening that the queue went out of the door and down the street.

They have been replaced by cookie-cutter Internet Cafes and “Cheap shops” selling international phonecards. Most of the proprietors appear to be of Indian or Pakistani origin.

The only businesses that have not changed hands are the Off-license (Liquor store) the Betting Shop and, of course, the Pub.

The nearest food stores are Wal-Martesque supermarkets about a mile away.

Walking down the High Street is a depressing experience; all the greenery is gone, the people are rude, gloomy and depressed – as I would be if I still lived here – and most of their conversations are in languages other than English.

It could be worse. I could be stuck here. Instead, I’m just passing through. I grew up here, but it’s not home anymore.

I’m glad I left.

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