The Creaky Shed
This is just the sort of shop that needs to be encouraged. A Royal Hill Lovely, the Creaky Shed is a little gem selling all manner of good quality fresh fruit and vegetables mainly on a seasonal basis. I adore going in there because it’s so well laid out – everything in neat baskets of overflowing plenty. Unusual vegetables jostle with more workaday favourites and there are also one or two interesting jars of accompaniments such as apple sauce and sundry jams and pickles. Outside the sweet little window is always a gorgeous display of abundance – flaming pumpkins and strange squashes in Autumn, jolly tangerines, nuts and shiny things in the run up to Christmas and shocking pink sticks of champagne rhubarb and giant naval oranges in the gloomy depths of January – just when you need a bright, cheery pick-me-up. That particular row of shops has to be my favourite in Greenwich, for colour and sheer cuteness.
The service is personal and friendly and I never feel embarrassed to ask for just one or two of anything or enquire what something actually is – and, indeed, what to do with it if I buy it. The fact that it’s rather dark inside would normally make a shop a bit gloomy, but the friendly atmosphere and the veritable cornucopia of jewel-like fruits and vegetables is such that it feels sumptuous rather than dim. The prices seem initially high – but you don’t have to actually buy a kilo of this or that – you can just ask for what you need and they’ll happily weigh it out for you. Frankly the quality is better than some of the frankly manky stuff I’ve seen at Blackheath Farmers Market on occasion. (I don’t mind odd-shaped or mudddy – I’ve got an allotment, goddammit – but some stuff is just plain poor quality.)
My only complaint is that there aren’t more of these places. The quality and variety of veg on sale here makes it a must – but it would be nice not to have to travel a couple of miles for everyday essentials. I place the blame partially at the feet of the supermarkets – but have to take some of it myself for having supermarket-shopped in the past. I now make an effort to buy local and small as much as possible to encourage more brave souls to start quality businesses. That’s not, by the way, to say I don’t actually go to Sainsburys at all – but wherever possible if there’s a (nice) local alternative I’m now trying to take it.
I guess it’s getting me out and walking off those Christmas pounds.
The Creaky Shed is one of The Phantom’s Favourite Haunts