Downham! Jewel of East Catford!
At the bottom of the sprawling housing estate is this little parade of shops, and I cannot count the times it has provided the things you just can't buy anywhere else.
When I needed maggots for a TV shoot, I found them in the fishing shop.
When I needed a walking stick for Dora Dale, the charity shop provided one.
And at Christmas it was the last place in London to stock Glace Cherries.
David Tomlinson banged on about Portobello Road in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, but I put it to you that he should really have been singing about Downham. And he really should have cut the song down by about three minutes. Especially the world music montage. Bloody hell. But I digress.
Downham was home to one of the last surviving Woolworths, and for a long time had a shop called Alladin's (sic) Cave, which sold everything from hinges to blank painting canvasses. Awesome.
In one shop last week, I bought garden shears, Lemsips, and a plastic storage tub. Which I had to take home and wash up. There was a slightly more expensive clean one. I like shops where the same product comes in different prices. Or where the product label says "Only £1.29!" but they stick a price sticker saying £1.99 over the top.
Anyway. I put it to you that without these handy little oases (oases? oasises?) of moulded plastic, modern Britain would be lost. God Bless You, Downham!