On Saturday I went shopping round some of my old haunts in south-east London. I don’t get down this way very often. I haven’t been to East Street market since March. I wanted to see what damage had been done during the riots to places I know and love.
East Street market in Walworth was as buzzing as ever and I bought a crab and a pint of prawns from the seafood stall. You can’t beat a pint of prawns. None of these metric measures; it has to be a pint from a market stall.
I digress. I had seen images of rioting and fires in Walworth Road and Rye Lane, Peckham, on the television and on YouTube on Monday night and from what I’d gleaned from Twitter, I expected most of the shops in Rye Lane and Walworth Road to be boarded up having had all their contents looted. A few had boards where their windows should be but were still open for business. And they stayed open for business into the evening.
Although Rye Lane is closed towards the top end, where a building was set on fire, the biggest indication that there had been a riot was the wall of post-it notes and messages where Poundland used to have a window.
It was creating a lot of interest: most people who passed it stopped to read the diverse opinions and prayers in the post-it notes. The most moving messages for me were those written by small children in uncertain handwriting or with just a drawing. My favourite? “The only way is Peckham”!