I took this picture during a visit to the Organic and Natural shop, where my wife and I often go on a Saturday morning in order to talk to the young man in the green jumper (there's a family connection). I'm no photographer, but I thought the image caught something of the flavour of the place.
Last July the story was: "Here comes the Jackdaw jazz cafe." But the venture has lasted less than a year. This is a shame, just as the closure of Maeve's Kitchen is shame. Now there are two empty spaces where examples of local gentrification had been, once again raising questions about why some manifestations of the "new Clapton" have taken root and others haven't. The Jackdaw seemed nice enough, but did it over-estimate the Dalstonisation of this neck of the woods?
Once, long ago, I was walking north along the southern end of Lower Clapton Road when a man stepped from a shop and said to me: "Come inside and smell the leather." He wore a leather cowboy hat and leather boots. I know what (some of) you are thinking. You are wrong. "Come on in," he persisted. "Come in and smell that leather." I could, in fact, already smell it. Peering into the shop, I saw the bags, boots, coats and shoes that were emitting it.
I wasn't a devotee of Maeve's Kitchen but I'm still sad that it's closed down. What happened? Until someone out there tells me, I can only speculate. The restaurant's website and Facebook page say only that it has "decided to take a prolonged pause from trading." The freehold of the entire property, which includes two flats above the restaurant space, is for sale for £795,000. This could mean that Maeve's was doing OK as a business but that the owner, Maeve's erstwhile landlord, reckoned to make more money from the sale if the premises were sold empty. Or maybe Maeve's was closing anyway and the landlord has decided to cash out. Or it could mean something else.