Legends from our own lunchtimes

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Even on a fine and relatively warm morning in London the dawn seems grey and unappetising.

The fine respectable white faced buildings of Bayswater at first appear embarrassed that we are peering at their nether regions, but after a time they just ignore us and we them. Admittedly after a cup of coffee everything in Queens Mews is brighter at street level and there are plenty of other views to dissect at any rate, and I'm already feeling sorry that I caught them in their morning attire.

It's rather nice to be here in familiar territory, with Shell and Jules in the new place incredibly barely a city block away from Jen's old digs, the ones in which my favourite birthday card was photographed eight years ago, and it would feel as though we have never been away except that renovation of the commercial spaces has transformed some streets in a rather positive manner and the variety and quality of food available does seem to have taken a remarkable turn for the better.

Even better though, the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising has appeared in a once anonymous Mews nearby and for the few pounds we had left after a fine pizza lunch, we were able to spend a few hours reacquainting ourselves with brands such as Camp coffee "daddy likes it full", Andrews Liver Salts "Mummy says it improves one's complexion" and what could only be described as an extraordinary collection of thousands of packages, boxes and tins. We had a lovely chat with the extraordinary Robert, the walking encyclopaedia of soap brands, whose life time of collecting stuff is on display and promised we'd provide a link to his website.

I framed a tinfoil Freddo wrapper some time in the seventies declaring to all who cared to listen that some day it would be worth a fortune, I still have it and if I'd been completely insane and added to it every waking hour for thirty years or so as Robert did, even then it probably wouldn't be worth a cracker. I suspect that opening a museum would be an incredibly efficient way of making a small fortune out of a larger one, but I'm thankful that someone's done it!


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