Princesses of Persia

We spent three days in London, staying close to Soho’s Berwick Street Market. How things have moved on since I was a likely lad about town. The traditional stalls flogging fruit and veg, cheap knickers, household tat and knock-off have been supplanted by international street food, and the old Wimpy burger bar at the top of the street is now a trendy restaurant.

We lunched in Old Compton Street, Soho’s main drag, picking a table at an open window so we could people watch. Sat in front of us at a pavement table were a couple of well-heeled young ladies getting well-oiled – all flicky hair, painted pouts and posh frocks – necking upmarket cocktails. When they weren’t checking their iPhones, they chatted loudly and expressively in what I thought might be Farsi. There was a lot of gesticulating going on. It reminded me so much of our Turkey days watching po-faced Turkish princesses bitch and gossip.

Sitting quietly in the corner of the restaurant was their minder, watching and sipping coffee. Without warning, they signalled they were done and he whisked them and their fancy handbags off, presumably back to the Ritz or some other top-drawer dormitory for the filthy rich.

If anything positive has come out of this terrible pandemic, it has to be the explosion in café culture and al fresco dining. Come 5pm, up go the road barriers, out come the tables and Soho floods with punters. Well, if it’s good enough for Paris.

10 thoughts on “Princesses of Persia

  1. London seems so different these days. Yes, I remember mooching around those old-fashioned markets, but everywhere is so slick and fashionable now (and super expensive). I guess we are just getting old! Al fresco dining is fine in the summer time, but once the winter starts to bite everyone will be sitting indoors again…

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    1. Maybe but as I mentioned, if it’s good enough for Paris – or Stockholm or Amsterdam – where the weather is the same or worse. I think there’s been a sea change. Even here in Norwich things have changed. We shall see 😄

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  2. Our little city talked about blocking off the road and setting up tables outside, and many of the locals didn’t want it and raised a big stink. I don’t know why. It would’ve been wonderful.

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      1. I think so too. It could’ve been wonderful. But many places have outdoor patios already, so maybe it didn’t seem as important. There’s also a little balcony outside the library which is on the second floor above the post office. I would buy lunch at café downtown and take it to the balcony. Of course, that only worked for lunch.
        There are eight or nine small places in town, all locally owned, no chains. Five of them have outdoor seating. Another indoor place just opened and last month and an outdoor place closed.
        Look up Bisbee AZ sometime and take a look at our town. Oliver, it isn’t really my town. I live about 7 miles south right on the border of Mexico. A little tiny town called Naco that doesn’t have a restaurant or any businesses at all except for one old bar. It has been open for maybe 70 or 80 or 90 years and it’s called the Gay 90s. Every year during Pride weekend, some folks come down to Gay 90s thinking it’s a gay bar and it’s not. But it becomes one for a few nights!

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