I’ve been in Crystal Palace a lot in the last couple of days – after having lived here about eight years ago. Almost nothing in the high street appears to have changed – so many of the shops still exist as they did when I was here – the hardware store, a gift & clothing shop, hairdressers, children’s shoes, beauty salon, a couple of the cafes and restaurants, accountant and restaurant Joanna’s – which I first visited with my sister more than 10 years ago. What seems quite different about the area is that a branch of Safeway in the heart of Crystal Palace is currently closed, with Sainsbury’s going to take over (well, this is the case, according to a guy standing outside the closed store with a clipboard today, canvassing for people to take part in market research). It seems quite something that so many independent stores are still in business, while it is the ‘giant’ who is making changes.

In addition to the stores that have existed for many years, one addition is Glitter and Twisted – a vintage store with some new elements, but many, many beautiful and stylish items. I wanted to buy so many things in there, but so far have managed to resist except for a set of six mugs, saucers and plates with a Black Velvet design. I know next to nothing about ceramics and their designers, but find it amazing that a set of crockery that is older than me (but younger than the delightful shop owner) and is possibly in better condition! Anyway, it will suit the plans I have for my new apartment and studio for which I got the keys on Tuesdady. The sale has been such a long time completing – I first signed up for the property on February 26 – that I almost can’t believe it. The next few months will be about making the place homey and welcoming for clients.