Sunday, 10 November 2019

Simon Carter - rebooted

Simon Carter's first appearance on this blog was back in 2013. Six years later the store has had a bit of a refit, and it's great to see plenty of local history incorporated into the new design scheme. An image of the palace serves as a backdrop at one end, while the iguanodon presides over the shirt wall at the pointy end of the shop. And it's not just the decor, some of the merchandise is also locally themed. Pocket squares featuring a very dapper T Rex, and a selection of dino cufflinks among them. No doubt lots of them will be shortly making their way into Christmas stockings locally.
They seem to have fitted in lots more merchandise into what is a tiny shop, without making it look overstuffed, including a new display wall of boots and shoes at the back. A couple of fab vintage light fittings add a retro glow, while my favourite feature is the black floor inset with classic mother of pearl buttons. A simple but charming idea! It's also good to see that some of the old familiar characters that have always populated the shop, remain. From Crystal, the porcelain cat, to the dashing naval officer.
Still, the best thing about this brand, is the shirts, from floral, and paisley, to dogs, bicycles and butterflies. Just don't ask for a plain one!

John Wetherill, store manager

71 Westow Street

Friday, 1 November 2019

PIAST, Polish & Continental Delicatessen

It's the November 1st 2019, and we are still in the European Union! Whether you are a Remainer or a Leaver, you will probably agree that the last three and a half years has not been Britain's finest moment. For me, one of the most shameful aspects of it all, is the way immigrants, specifically those from the EU, have been caught up in the political crossfire. Politicians, aided by the tabloid media have recklessly whipped up an anti immigrant mood, creating untold stress and anxiety for those, including my German husband, who quite legally chose to make the UK their home, and have contributed hugely to the country both economically, culturally, and socially. Where would we be without all the doctors, nurses, careworkers, waiters, plumbers, fruit pickers, and people in all other walks of life? They come here, and certainly don't steal all our jobs, as figures show, employment is at a record high. 
Like much of London, the Triangle is wonderfully diverse, and I've written about many Europeans who call it home, elsewhere on this blog. Agata Kwiatkowska comes from Poland, and is the proud proprietor of Piast, on Hollybush Terrace, which she took over last year, having already worked there for 5 years. Piast was the name of a former royal dynasty if you were wondering. If you've never thought to go in, please do, it's a friendly little shop with a great range of food and drink, not just from Agata's homeland, but also Slovakia, Hungary, Germany, and even Italy. Some will be familiar, some not. Don't worry if you don't understand some of the Polish labels, Agata and her staff are extremely helpful. As well as the rows of jars of sauerkraut, pickled herring, and rye breads, (products not just aimed at homesick Poles), is a wonderful deli counter brimming with charcuterie and prepared dishes, such as Pierogi (ravioli like dumplings), Golabki, their delicious stuffed cabbage leaves, a variation on a dish you will find through much of Central Europe, and home made Polish cakes.
Agata reflects on how the famed local village community on the Triangle, is much like her home town of Tychowo. Maybe she will retire back home, but then again her 18 year old daughter was schooled here. Freedom of Movement is often portrayed as a one way street for people to come here, but it is a freedom we should all cherish, and has given us plenty of opportunities too. Opportunities we seem about to lose. I sincerely hope that this little corner of Poland remains steadfastly on the Triangle. 

Agata Kwiatkowska

Hollybush Terrace
3 Westow Street