After going on about the Greek shop the other day (blog post back one) I remembered another favourite shop. In fact this probably was and still is the best shop in North London, possibly the world.
Martyns of Muswell Hill. We used to go in here a lot. Mum would buy tea, coffee and dried fruit, and I would stand by the ancient coffee bean machine by the window and breath in that fabulous aroma of the roasting beans. Actually, I'm not sure if it was roasting them, but the smell was intoxicating. It was a sort of metal barrel that turned like a washing machine drum, with a hiss hiss as the beans clattered around inside. I was an inquisitive child, so I can't imagine I didn't ask what it was the machine was doing. I've just forgotten somewhere in the fog of time . . .
I returned to the shop about a year ago on one of my wandering around bits of London trips, in fact I've probably enthused about it before. I was so utterly relieved and thrilled to see it was still there. I may have danced on the pavement, but I can't remember that either. The inside was still dimly lit, still the wonderful coffee smell but infused with other scents: vanilla, tea, dundee cakes and probably some good quality dust on the top shelves. The little cellophane packets of herbs and spices were as I recalled, and even the women serving seemed the same? Another generation perhaps.