Blcakheath Royal Standard
What a strange little shop. It’s quite clearly been here since The Ark and is run by a delightful little old lady who seems to have stepped out of another world. The shop itself is old fashioned – you don’t literally step down into it, but it feels as if you do. You are greeted with a discreet musty, damp smell and the murmuring sound of other old ladies already in there discussing their ailments. This is clearly a meeting place and one of those disappearing things – a pillar of the community.
It stands in the same row as the exemplary Standard DIY, sandwiching an ever-growing parade of estate agents – what IS it about estate agents that makes them breed like rabbits, blotting out the very “village community” that they are trying to peddle? But back to Pegga Stores. Inside, there are glass cabinets and stands, all ever-so-slightly hap-hazard – as if over the years attempts have been made to modernise and then been given up in favour of tradition.
So what does it sell? Good question. I guess it’s greetings cards, though as with so many shops of this kind, it’s never QUITE obvious, even though you are surrounded by pieces of colourful folded paper. The selection is surprisingly good – a lot of Medici and classic-looking quality cards; virtually no nasty joke ones. I bought a gorgeous old-fashioned advent calendar (of the only proper variety – no chocolate) for my sister just before Christmas, and couldn’t resist buying the cute greetings-card prints of Old Greenwich at the same time.
Stripey-awninged and discreetly omnipresent, this is the sort of shop that only really exists today in old Ealing comedies. I am delighted to see it is there – but beware -if we don’t patronise it, one day we will wake up and it won’t be…
…the Invasion of the Estate Agents will be complete…