Cricklewood more than makes up for the lack of character in my house, the streets offering a whole array of personalities to amuse, entertain or mildly terrify on occasion.
I sit drinking green tea with the Iraqi owner of the nearby corner shop, exchanging news about the more extravagant characters who amble up and down the ancient Watling Street outside.
“I thought in the Middle East you guys were all about your really thick black coffee. I thought green tea was more of a Chinese thing” I say, the big fat stupid racist that I am.
“No,” Salim says, shrugging a little. “China, Pakistan, Iraq, North Africa. It is popular in lots of places.”
“Great,” I think, “a whole set of stereotypes and associations to unplug and rewire.”
An Irishman in a grubby suit arrives and demands scotch, SCOTCH!!
I feel order is restored in my simple mind.
5 weeks ago