Poem: I Used To Be Homesick

July 1, 2019

 

I used to be homesick

 

for the smell of the old Sainsbury’s butchers shops, the sawdust, the red raw hands of the fat-armed butcher’s boys;

 

for the extinct pink Financial Times and the Sporting Life, for their columns and columns of incomprehensible numbers and symbols of form and potential, neither suitable for fish and chip wrapping;

 

for the smell of the Tube tunnels as a rushing train pushes warm stale air across faces and platforms;

 

for the hop skip and jump it used to take to keep drinking all day in the days of the mysterious licensing hours;

 

for the certainty of location in a spoken voice, always the region and often the very suburb or streetscape;

 

for the red squirrels in the parks and the water rats in the ditches and the horses that pulled the rag and bone mens’ carts on a Saturday morning;

 

for the hordes of rednosed rawboned hoop-shirted hooligans whooping it up on a Saturday afternoon, street level nationalists;

 

for the exciting stink of the Standard Wallpaper Company fire way back before the clean air acts when the thick smoke billowed invisibly within the choking smog;

 

for Toots & The Maytals and Cliff Richard & the Shadows, and the Yardbirds and the Uxbridge Fair, for Eel Pie Island, the Marquee Club, and the Orchid Ballroom, Purley;

 

for the taste of raw beer hoppy and alive in an alehouse more ancient than America where ₤100 is a busy night and the beer and the bread and the cheese are homemade;

 

for the rank taste in the mouth when the gasholders were full and leeching and the air smelled green;

 

for Prince Charles and Coronation Street, and Mastermind and Marjorie Proops and the Sunday Mirror and the Evening Standard and the Guardian crossword, and the suckers getting taken at Piccadilly Circus;

 

for eel-pie and mash, for meat-and-potato pies, for streaky bacon and fat-filled bangers, for two pieces of rock and six pennyworth o’chips, for Bisto and Bovril and Daddie’s Sauce, for Marks & Sparks Christmas puds, for hot runny custard, mushy peas, black pudding and kippers;

 

for the china chink of cup on saucer across the village green as your team takes to the field in whites and off-whites and green-stained creams, running and stretching and yawning off the dozen pints of the night before;

 

for the narrow roads and tiny cars and miniature houses and rose gardens and muddy resorts and back lanes where it is safe to walk.

 

I used to be homesick before you.

 

 


Changes On The Drive #95

July 1, 2019

Boy it was hot walking the Drive yesterday. Thank goodness I remembered my hat!

Not a lot of changes this month.  However, we remain at only 8 vacancies on the Drive. Two of those vacancies are former cannabis dispensaries which, I assume, are still struggling with the licensing process, two others are the linked Falcone storefronts which may or may not be being renovated (it is hard to tell), and a further two are scheduled to reopen imminently.

The Sweet Greek, a place I have praised before, has a sign saying that new management has taken over.  Fingers crossed that it doesn’t lose its charm.

 

The new-to-us Grounds for Coffee, which opened last month at 2088 Commercial, gets a long and glowing review in the Vancouver Sun.  However, they have had to give up their idea of not accepting cash.

 

As suggested last month, My Sister’s Closet has now formally taken over the 1828 Commercial storefront.

 

The BBQ Chicken place at 1678 Commercial seems to be getting a makeover. It was looking pretty run down.

 

The southernmost storefront of the Kalena group, 1544 Commercial, which most recently failed as a fancy candy store, is soon to be a bar, the Corso.  I’m not sure when it will open.

 

Sopra Sotto at 1510 Commercial has opened a branch in Burnaby.

The owners of the recently opened Harbour Oyster Bar at 1408 Commercial are revealed to be Ari Demosten and Alex Kytiazis, previously known from their controversial and now-closed Escobar Restaurant on Fraser.

Finally, 952 Commercial (which used to be Joe’s Grill) is still closed but will soon reopen as the new location for Absinthe Bistro, currently at 1260 Commercial.

 

Vacancies on the Drive this month:  2223 Commercial (4 months vacant), 1840 (5 months), 1812 (16 months), 1810 (16 months), 1735 (9 months), 1544 (1 month), 1303 (2 months), 952 (9 months).

Previous Changes on The Drive editions.


Happy Canada Day!

July 1, 2019