Magazine article The Spectator

Notes On. Chelsea Green

Magazine article The Spectator

Notes On. Chelsea Green

Article excerpt

Splats of calves' liver in a puddle of blood; rabbits, headless, stretched and stripped of fur; and plucked poussins, nestling together in plastic trays. All garnished with sprigs of parsley. Welcome to Jago's butcher, Chelsea Green, where the liver is 'as tender as a butcher's kiss', as Rob the butcher tells me as I consider raw flesh through the glass.

A few doors down, the cobbler runs what was previously his father's shop. He has worked on the green since he was a child, and returns your shoes in a bag made of thick white paper. Then there's Sign of the Times, a dress agency, selling secondhand designer clothing at reasonable prices. It is clean, clear and well laid out under bright, white and unflattering lighting. Here I once bought a pair of lurid-green tweed trousers by Burberry for under £100.

There's the grocer, Andreas, where I like to play 'guess the price of...' An apple can set you back £3.50. And the fishmonger, who every day chalks on the blackboard a terrible pun that has nothing to do with fish.

Opposite is Felt, the jewellery shop where I work. 'We go from crap to Christie's,' says Eliza, the owner. A pair of 1970s costume clip-ons are pinned next to diamonds on felt walls. Half the shop is sourced, and the other half is jewellery that clients bring in to sell. I like to drape myself in the full range, and sometimes forget to take off some truly foxy diamonds for the post office run.

Felt is a bit like a GP's surgery. Someone comes in on a mission. They have something to celebrate or say sorry for, something to fix or mend. …

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