Orpington High Street isn’t exactly Maida Vale, I know that. But I was still quite shocked by the wide variety of miscreants I encountered there the other morning. I mean, I don’t expect to see Kirstie Allsop in my local Costa or anything, but I also don’t expect to see a tracksuit clad young mum, whose pram was filled to bursting with multipacks of crisps, cushioned around the baby like a delicious savoury bumper. Just as I was looking away in horror, a car was pulling away from the kerb, containing a lady in the passenger seat with a newborn baby on her lap. Yes, just on her lap, apparently unaware of the existence – never mind legal use of – infant car seats.
Oh my, I thought, clicking my heels together to no avail. I ducked into the pound shop (I did say it isn’t Maida Vale), to see another mum, who had too much shopping and so had put some in her baby’s pushchair. Fair enough, you might think, until you look a bit closer and see that the excess shopping she’d given her baby to play with was, in fact, a bottle of Dettol (or rather, an unbranded antiseptic, this being the pound shop after all).
To top things off I offer this heartwarming exchange between a young man and a postman: “Oi mate!” shouted the young man, “you’ll be out of a job this time next year!!” “Probably, yes” agreed the postman, quite amiably I thought, under the circumstances. “Of course you will!” continued the charming youth, YOU F*CKING PRICK!!”
Awww, how lovely. But don’t get the wrong impression of Orpington, it’s not all that bad, we even have flowers in the High Street now and everything. And of course we have the famous Mary Portas charity shop, not just full of tat that nobody wants, but full of designer tat that nobody wants. And maybe that fabled Primark might even appear one day soon….you certainly don’t have one of those in Maida Vale, which leads me to wonder where on earth the people of west London buy their velour leisure suits?