Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I took a hiking backpack today on my weekly shopping trip to Dalston. It seemed like a good idea because I had three bags full of unwanteds to take to the Oxfam store and I wanted to bring a big load of groceries back.

I also took cardboard for recycling. Our building doesn't recycle cardboard or plastic bottles and I usually end up carrying it halfway across London to drop in a bin on the way to work.

After a few false leads I remembered that there was a bin for cardboard on Ridley Road and took it there. As I opened the bin a market stallholder walked past and said 'You won't find anything in there mate. It's just rubbish, only cardboard'.

I hoped he thought I was a freegan scavenging for ideological reasons rather than someone homeless and desparate! That will teach me to go several days without shaving.

After dropping my donation at Oxfam I headed to Sainsbury's. As I went through the door I noticed the security guard perk up and make some hand signals to the staff on the cigarette counter.

In the spice section a few minutes later, I felt that someone was following me. I looked up and a Sainsbury's employee (disguised with a civilian jacket and empty trolley) quickly diverted her gaze towards the tinned tomatoes.

Was it just the backpack or do I look genuinely dodgy? Eitherway, appearing destitute has advantages. After Sainsbury's I went to pick up my bike from the shop where I'd taken it to repair the damage caused by an aborted theft attempt outside the Barbican on Sunday. £3!


Vincent from London said...

Dalston is a dodgy place!! I live not far from there.

Joe said...

It's the only place in London I've seen women begging with babies and I think that is the mark of true dodginess.

Cal said...

Seriously - you've not seen women begging with babies elsewhere? There are. (And in fact I've not noticed a particular preponderance of them in Dalston either)

I suspect that slim, unshaven man = junkie to security guards etc. Perhaps you need to start eating more and cycling less.

Joe said...

Nup, nowhere else in the developed world. Possibly I don't visit Harrods often enough: