Would Jacqui Smith buy a kebab in Brockley?

We've been debating whether to post something on the topic of crime and safety, as we run the risk of going over old ground.

However, the Brockley Central community has grown considerably since those days and a number of readers have emailed us concerning the release of CCTV images of a 'steamer' gang, that attacked and robbed train passengers from Forest Hill, before disembarking at Brockley. The attack took place in November 2007.

On the other hand, the News Shopper reported earlier today that:

"CRIME on [the Southern railway network] has dropped by 10 per cent, according to recently released figures.

"The statistics show there were 4,740 crimes on the Southern railway network, which includes Penge West, Brockley and Anerley stations, last year, compared with the 5,283 in 2006.
This figure includes a 16.75 per cent drop in violent crime from 639 instances in 2006 to 537 last year."

We were once the victim of an attempted "steaming", but it was when we lived in Greenwich and before the advent of mobile phones. We didn't have any money on us either, so they had to accept that it was a futile exercise. There was a short debate about whether one of them should beat me with his belt as a matter of principle, but they decided that their time might be spent more productively further down the carriage.

Conversely, when we lived in Charlton and travelled on the same train route, we accidentally got on the train while leaving our wallet on a station seat. In a panic, we got off at the next stop and sprinted back to Charlton to see if it had been handed in. We were told that a guy had found it and had just got on the train that was about to leave. We jumped on the train and went down the carriages asking if anyone had found it. It turned out the discoverer of our wallet had handed it to the train driver, without taking a single penny.

So, we suppose the point of those stories is that, on balance, we tend to be an optimist about human nature, rather than dwelling on the nasty people in life.

Since we wrote the original piece about safety, we have seen a few unsavory things locally and through writing this blog, have become aware of some other people's bad experiences, but we've still never felt threatened in Brockley, nor been the victim of any crime. However, we also recognise that, as a born-and-bred Londoner, we tend to see the city differently from others.

So would our Home Secretary feel safe on Brockley's streets? Do you?


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if your post, nick, is a response to mine, or a coincidence. I posted about my recent negative experience here:
--- & I would still buy a kebab in Brockley (were I not vegetarian, and rather fond of my arteries).

I've been in southeast london for ten years, and Brockley for the last three, and never had so much as my pocket picked. I generally feel really safe here. Although I'm sure I'll feel a bit nervey & self-aware in the evenings now, I'm not super concerned. Its probably relevant that the guy wasn't physically threatening me in any way. the police thought it was unusual that this was an adult on his own, not a bunch of kids, and not particularly aggressive or threatening. At 7.50 at night he was clearly targeting commuters, & I might've been safer at 3am when no one's about. To me it sounds like a bit of opportunism that can be dealt with, or which will move on to more fertile ground of its own accord, not a general neighbourhood decline. But that may be an emotional response, I'm not much of a criminologist. Just a woman walking home alone at night.

Anonymous said...

I recently moved from Tressillian Rd - I didn't want to move but we have been burgled twice in the past 3 months and twice now someone has tried to mug my girlfriend in between St Johns and our house. After the second attempt - by a group of children the decision was made for us.

I do however still follow the blog closely - I lived there for over 10 years and am really disapointed my partner couldn't feel safe living there anymore.

Anonymous said...

I never feel threatened usually but I have a feeling i may have witnessed the 'steamer' guys at brockley station. There were about 30 of them and had their faces covered with balaclavas - very frightening. I'm not prone to backing down in a confrontation so what worried me the most was their sheer number - if they had decided to do anything they would have had the power.

I'd prefer a few more police officers wandering around randomly than at present.

Pete said...

The only trouble that I have witnessed was on the train to Ladywell. A gang of youngish teenagers were getting very angry with each other and one threatened to stab the other. At this point an enormous adult got on the train and told them that if they didn't sit down he was going to "f**k them up". This quickly shut them up thankfully.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in Brockley over 20 years and have never been mugged or threatened. Just lucky I suppose, but then I don't use public transport which may skew things. My biggest problem was over the space of 10 or so years I had 13 attempted or actual burglaries when living in Malpas Road. Is that a record?

BrockleyBiker said...

I guess I feel safe on Brockley's streets. Though I am, like you, a Londoner born and bred and I think it does distort things.

Places where I have a 'been a victim of crime' - Hammersmith, Maida Vale, Clapham Juntion, Lewisham Way.

So tbh I never feel 'fear' in any part of London. It is certain situations that I fear not areas, as stuff can happen anywhere. (I know there are some obvious holes in that argument but I don't let them worry me!)

Richard Elliot said...

I didn't witness a crime in my first 3 and a half years of living in Brockley. I had friends that lived in the area 7 years ago and they said is has improved dramatically.

Recently, however, cars outside my flat have been broken into on what has almost become a regular basis. Last night I was subject to a bit of petty abuse on my cycle ride home from work.

I still feel safe walking the streets at night, but it is not the utopia I once thought.

Brockley Nick said...

Petty abuse of cyclists is definitely not unique to Brockley and I think is far worse outside of London.

I'm sorry to hear the second-poster's story, which is a real shame, but it's nice to hear that you still keep in touch via BC.

Bea said...

I have lived in London for a total of 8 years - in Hampstead, Hackney, Bethnal Green and now Brockley.

I've felt most frightened in Hackney followed closely by Bethnal Green where a young Polish girl was mugged by two men outside my lounge window. In Hackney the street I was on had CCTV cameras either end guarded by barbed wire (how's that for feeling safe!) and still people got attacked. In Hampstead, although I never saw anything, I felt more nervous than in Brockley as I thought muggers probably saw the place as rich pickings.

By far, I’ve felt the safest in Brockley. Mind you having read some of the posts here I will definitely be less relaxed when getting off the train in the evening.

T1 said...

A couple of Halloweens ago I was mugged as I walked home past Brockley cemetery, on Brockley Road. Got jumped by a gang of 15 or so teenage boys, all masked up. Wasn’t too violent but I did get roughed up a bit.

The police said that there had been five times as many muggings that night than normal, probably because Halloween gives kids the chance to put on masks and roam the streets in gangs.

That's been the only actual attack I've experienced, though a couple of other times I've been approached and had to deal with it. Meanwhile, my car's never been touched, and nor has my house.

Overall I think Brockley's OK (it's not as threatening as many parts of New Cross or Deptford, for instance) but I don't think it's the safest place I've lived in London – I think there are places and times when groups of boys want to think they rule the street and wish to assert that. I certainly felt that during my mugging experience.

I'm not sure, however, how much different this is from other parts of semi inner-city London. But while some of the posts here sound somewhat complacent about it, I think as a community we should try to do what we can.

While it won't cure everything, in general the more people out on the streets, shopping and going to local places, during the day and in the evening, the less likely it is that pockets of vulnerability arise.

Pete said...

Well said Tom.

Bea said...


By vowing to "track them down and beat them to a pulp with baseball bats" you'd be one of the "hooligans". However ineffective the law may seem - leave them to be the ones to get a knife stuck between their ribs .... not you!

Anonymous said...

I've just moved to Brockley in August and I feel no different here (in terms of safety) than in any other neighborhood of any other big city that I've lived in.

To put this in perspective, within London I have lived in the following neighbourhoods: Shepherds Bush, Earls Court, Hackney, Manor House, Greenwich and Blackheath.

I'd like to think that if you have a common-sense approach (being alert, not displaying valueables, staying on well lit main roads) that you dramatically decrease the chances that you'll be targeted for crime. OF course, even with the commonsense approach you can still be exceptionally unlucky.

I sincerely feel for those who have commented on this blog regarding negative experiences that they've had. I was broken into once when I was living in Chicago (opportunist who found an open window) and I know how scary and unfun the situation is.

Living in a city (any city, any neighbourhood) it's all about the sweet and sour. You can't have one without the other.

I'm all for making Brockley the best neighborhood in London *pride* and if it's really felt that we have a problem here let's do something about it.

Anonymous said...

I know. Why don't we give all these yobs some digital cameras? Overnight they'll forget they come from broken homes, abusive backgrounds and sh1tty council estates, they'll laugh in the face of racial predujice, poor education and a future of being on the margins of society -they'll be too busy expressing their anger through artistic expression - in the form of photography- to mug us!


Anonymous said...

Opportunistic criminals prefer to act when there aren't any witnesses/people who might intervene. If the majority of people refuse to go out after dark the few who do venture outside will be more likely to become victims. Part of me feels defiant about this - given the choice I'll get the night bus home rather than a cab I can't really afford - I feel very lucky never to have been affected by crime in Brockley as I sometimes take what might be considered stupid risks. I do feel safer here than I did in Battersea where I lived before moving here.
Maybe we should stop referring to the steamers and their ilk as mutant boys - are we really prepared to accept that we are surrounded by irredeemably evil children?

Anonymous said...

Trouble on the trains raises a question i have asked myself a few times.

If someone were to try to mug me on the train, would any of the other passengers do anything. Or would people just stare blankly into their London Lites not wanting to get involved.

Id like to think that people would interject, and that i would do the same if someone else was in trouble. But deep down, im not so sure!

Brockley Nick said...

I think "steaming" is more of a problem on overland train services, which I guess has a lot to do with the fact that overland stations are more poorly staffed and maintained. Therefore, an additional benefit of the ELL's arrival will be more secure train travel.

Anonymous said...

@Darren: if the reaction of the man walking 50 paces ahead of me during yesterday evening's bag-snatching attempt is any indication, then I'm afraid the answer is no. I wasn't in his sight-line, but I was yelling at my would-be mugger as loudly as I could -- in fact, louder than I thought I could! Top of my lungs - clear as anything. And my fellow commuter just carried on walking away... Make your own judgements.

Anonymous said...

What are you suppose to do when you see something like this happen?

As much as I would like to whip out some stylish hot kung foo action, I don't have those mad skills.

I know that if I witnessed a crime I probably wouldn't be in the position to physically challenge the situation, due to my height/weight ratio. However I could shout obscenities from a safe distance.

If something had occurred I do know with 100% certainty that I would stick around and make sure that the person who it had happened to was all right.

Brockley Ma, is that the right thing to do?

And anon, I appreciate your sarcasm - the end of my last post was a bit idealistic, but fundamentally I do believe that there is good in everyone, sometimes it just goes untapped.

I accept that a very small margin of people have no good in them at all. Fortunately evil doesn't equal smart, and that's what The Darwin Awards are for.

Anonymous said...

Although I have lived in the area all my life, I went to School in Orpington and had a friend who refused to get a train from there to London if it stopped in the south-London suburbs, including Crofton Park!

True, Brockley had a reputation for petty crime, but I would say the area is now relatively safe.

For me familiarity breeds - possibly misguided - security. I have rarely felt threatened walking home at night, but drop me in New Cross, Catford, etc and I will feel a lot less assured!

As a teenager I was mugged in Streatham, Bromley and Peckham. Two of those times were on a train and I think it is prudent to take care to sit near others on quieter trains, at least to minimise your vulnerability.

Anonymous said...

I should have also mentioned that on the rare occassions we have had problem customers at Jam Circus the community support guys have been down in a flash on their bikes. That said, their presence has been notably less since winter kicked in, do they not like the cold?!

Anonymous said...

It is important to keep crime in perspective. We have a high population density around here. We have a lot of everything.

Sometimes the local yoof get predatory. Sometimes it kicks off on the crowded commuter trains. Sometimes you buy a flat or house that where the attentions of the local burglar seem to part of the Freehold.

This sort of thing flares up from time to time. Often when some character has been released from some institution. They cause a commotion and eventually end up back in their institution.

But it is important not to let it affect you and blight your life.

Brockley has its problems, but there are far worse places to live.

Violent crime is obviously the greatest worry. But there are other crimes. I met a confidence trickster last year, which was an interesting experience.

Anonymous said...

The confidence trickster sounds interesting ... tell us more!

Anonymous said...

@Maradoll: what to do when you see something that might be a crime-in-progress? In my case, the passer by was at a very safe distance; I wished he'd just joined in with the yelling I was doing. Maybe for him the situation was ambiguous - say he couldn't tell what was happening: he would ahve lost nothing by yelling out: "hey what's going on over there". Honestly I think its that British reserve that gets in the way, which is ridiculous at best, tragic at worst. Subsequently the police confirmed that this was a good approach: yelling and attracting attention is just what a bag-snatcher doesn't want. If that's not possible for some reason, then get to a safe distance and dial 999. The police (and I) would discourage you or any passer-by from putting yourself in danger.

Just to reiterate comments I've made above: the police response was excellent, i'd really encourage anyone in a similar situation to report to them. Last night they drove me around the neighbourhood for a second time looking for this guy, and we made some progress; I think I know who he is now, and so do the police. He was hanging around geoffrey road again, and I think I've seen him there before.

Anonymous said...

I've not read all the posts so appologies if I'm repeating anything. From my perspective as someone whos lived in London all his life (39 and a bit years)

1) London has some of the poorest areas in the country rubbing alongside some of the richest, it's overcrowded and has every colour, creed, race going. People get along well in general. We should be aplauding the lack off crime rather than it's prevelance.

2) 'my mate got mugged once' is interesting but is not an accurate way of assesing crime.

3) Is London worse 'these days'? Depends on your timescale. Ever read Samual Pepys diary? London was knee deep in death and violence. Also did plenty of shagging, lucky old devil.

4) What I do find depressing (and any criminoligists out there may be able to confirm?) is that most victims of petty crime, muggings and robbery tend to be the poor who have bugger all to steral anyway. Us middle calls blog readers are relativly safe.

Anonymous said...

I was burgled when I lived in Belsize park in NW3.

Cars were often broken into, one night I saw a group of kids standing on top of a Saab smashing it to bits with baseball bats.

And yet within 45 minutes of my flat lived Micheal Palin (nice bloke)and Bill Nigh.

Nothing has happened to me in Brockley since I move here 7 years ago, although I have seen a few things going on with gangs.

Overall I don't think Brockley is any worse than anywhere else.

T1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
T1 said...

(sorry for repeat posting!

Brockley Me – is it possible for you to give us a description? That part of town is only a minute away from where I live.

Is interesting that our own personal experiences of the police are so positive. It doesn't match up at all with the common media perception of the police abandoning the streets. And I've even seen police on bikes and horses in Brockley!

Monkeyboy, I think your attitude verges on the complacent. I don't think many people would agree there's a lack of crime in London, though it is not the opposite, as some elements of society and media seem to believe.

I think Brockley does have a slight problem with street crime, particularly after dark. I've been the victim of it, as have other posters here.

Personally, I find Lewisham Way the most threatening part of Brockley that I regularly pass through, not least the area outside Rokeby House.

But even if these one-off experiences were exceptions to the rule, there is a wider fear of walking the streets at night and as a community we should find ways to tackle this – and not just through the cop out (sorry!) of whinging about not enough police on the streets. The best streets police themselves.

Anonymous said...

No - the best police are accountable, regulated and professional.

I'm not complacent I just think that the perception of crime and the reality of it are a bit out of kilter.

Not sure what you mean my 'police themselves'? I take you don't mean some kind of weird vigilanty group?

T1 said...

I didn't say anything about the behaviour of the police MB!

As I said above, it is not a cure-all, but the more people that are around and about, and engaged with the area, the less likelihood of 'dodgy areas' developing.

I cycled through Canning Town and Beckton and the Isle of Dogs last night and found many atomised areas, with commuters running back to their gated 'communities' amidst sprawling council estates and poor infrastructure. Brockley seemed like heaven by comparison!

Anonymous said...

As a girl who has lived in many parts of "dodgy" london - brixton and kings cross for example! My main problem with feeling unsafe in brockley is that some parts are often desserted and too quiet except for menacing kids hanging around. When I have lived in brixton and kings cross there have been many people milling about and problems seem to occur amongst particular groups - ie fights between drug dealers etc.

In brockley its seems there is more an us and them situition where violence is extended. I feel especially unsafe near the railway station and on the train after 10 oclock

My boyfriend rents in brockley and we were thinking of buying in the tea factory, but Im not so sure.

patrick1971 said...

Been mugged three times in 13 years in London (twice on my own doorstep - one of the reasons I'm hoping to move this year!), and burgled once. These things happen everywhere, but some areas are definitely worse than others. Brockley always seemed okay to me until just after Christmas when I was visiting some friends in Geoffrey Road. I got off the train at Brockley and turned left to walk up under the bridge to Brockley Cross. There were about 20 kids just hanging around outside one of the shops. None of them did anything or gave me any grief, but it was a pretty threatening environment - not much of a welcome to the area! This was about 8pm.

Anonymous said...

1st thing i have noticed about brockley over the last few years is that so many people have said poilce are walking the streets keeping crime under control but never at the times when crime is at a high risk , late at nite or on the estates and things are so much worse that they were before ...lots of friends of mine have had there share of bad luck in brockley from having stones chucked at there heads to my door being almost kicked in by kids during the summer ...small things i know but still should not have to put up with it i do not think brockley has any good points left its a pit one that i have been trying to move out of for so many years now and it will continue to get worse mark my words ,,,it is time to fix the problems that are here but as many seem to not think there is a problem i dont know how much can be done ...ps all those wanna be crooks should do all there crime on a sunday as the police seem to be on hoilday and the com wardens dont open on sundays so it should be all clear ..i mean what on earth is going on closed on a sunday ..so pretty much alot of the trouble happens on over the weekend and the wardens think ok we will just sit at home and leave them to it not good enough i say but with the more and more crime i hear about getting away from here is all i think about .

Anonymous said...

....just cionfirms what I say, the PERCEPTION of crime is high. The media loves a good 'london is going to the dogs' story. Lots of friends of mine haven't had rocks thrown at their heads, nor have I. Never been mugged either. I'm not saying I'm any more correct than anyone else, but where are you moving too? Brighton? Manchester? Out in the sticks next to a mad old bloke with straw in his hair? And yes I expect gangs of kids do fight and worse. So simple - don't join a gang.

Anonymous said...

You're only safe until something bad happens to you. That could be here in Brockley, in Chelsea, in Manchester...wherever. Of course certain parts of London are more susceptible to crime than others, that's just how it is.

I think the moral of the story is to never be complacent, just because nothing awful has happened to you yet doesn't mean it never will (and when/if it does I'm certain you won't feel quite so safe in that area, in that particular street, at that particular station etc...).

Exercise caution wherever you are, even then sometimes bad luck hounding us makes it difficult to avoid unfortunate situations with uncivilised individuals.

Anonymous said...

Just a warning - this afternoon, on a beautiful sunshiny day a kid on a bike tried to snatch my phone on the corner of Cranfield and Wickham. I'd noticed him scoping me out while much further down on Wickham, but then he'd gone away - not for long! Stupidly I answered my phone, and he cycled up behind me on the pavement and tried to take the phone, but didn;t manage it. I don't know who was more shocked - me or the person I was talking to who had "f**k off screamed down the phone at him for apparently no reason.

Anyway - just keep an eye out - this was a 14-16 year old black kid on a bike, with a beanie hat, but not hiding his face, and he was quite suspicious looking with his slow riding and lots of looking back when I first saw him. It was the middle of the day - when you would least expect to be mugged!

The nice thing is that when I asked a yummy daddy with his child in a pram if i could walk with him, as I was a little shaken up he was very kind and chatted to me until I calmed down a bit - so thanks to him, whoever he was...so I still know Brockley's much more good than bad...

Anonymous said...

That sounds terrible. Lucky for you it wasnt actually taken.

As according to some people on this site, it means the police needs to stop a greater proportion of non-blacks for every black person otherwise its discrimination!

Do not expect a resolve on these types of crime cause the police force does not have that sort of money to chuck around, unless of course they are allowed to 'target those most likely to have committed it in the first place.

Anonymous said...

I had a mobile snatched in Lewisham in 2001, right at the bus stop in front of the huge police station (which hadn't been built back then). I'd had a few drink on a night out in town and was holding my phone in front of me, texting I think and some lad came up and asked the person next to me for the time, then suddenly snatched my mobile from my hand and ran.

I called the police (from someone else's mobile) and contrary to my recent experience with the police after the youths lobbed stones at me on my bicycle, they were really helpful. They arrived v quickly and drove me round in a van with mirror glass to see if I could see him, but he was long gone...

Anonymous said...

I was really lucky - I don't think the would be mugger had expected my death grip on my phone! Am waiting for a visit from the police, after a hour spent in the posh police station before giving up! I haven't got many details to give them anyway, but just wanted to let people know to watch out - but without frightening them too much - it;s a fine line isn;t it? thanks for the nice messages as well...

Anonymous said...

If the police were at Cranfield and Wickham just after after and saw a young black kid on a bike then sure stop him because he fitted the description.

Stopping black kids at random in the hope you get lucky is counter productive and plain wrong. It's not a police state AP & P but I think we've established that subtlties like that are beyond you.

Anonymous said...

["...unless of course they are allowed to 'target those most likely to have committed it in the first place."]

By 'those most likley' and 'target' I take it this individual means the person who committed the crime... and not the entire black population of London.

Anonymous said...

Anyone else the youngish girl about (white, skinny, ponytail, often wearing a thick jacket) asking for 10 or 20p? I've seen her round New X, Brockley station and outside the shops round Brockley.

Anonymous said...

Yes of course JPM, otherwise it really would be a police state.

I just find it annoying when you see/hear black people playing the racism card when the only thing the police are trying to do is protect the public.

Monkeyboy has made an interesting point on an earlier thread, alot of black people are also the victims of the crimes. If the police could police more effectively then maybe it would be disprotionately better for the black community.

max said...

A P, P & P, I really wonder what is it that you're talking about.
If the police is looking for somebody that has a description they will check whoever looks like that. Won't they?

combatcameraman said...

This kid on a bike seems to be getting around a bit. I was walking up past the chip shop up the road next to Costcutter when he asked me if I had 40p. I actually didn't at the time as I live on Wickham and just popped down for some milk. He was fine about it and seemed quite polite. About halfway up the road I heard the creaking of a bike behind me. I turned around and there he was "Are you taking the p***?" and so on. He did reach in his pocket for something. At this moment I just carried on walking for a second then legged it around the corner. Luckily that road is up hill so it took him longer to get going on his bike than it was for me to bolt off. I got in and called the police.

I feel quite ashamed about running as I am ex-army. I was in Iraq just over a year ago getting A LOT worse than this. I just didn't feel like getting stabbed over 40p. I'm considering wearing by body armour under my jacket when I go out at night nowadays. I think it's more due to the fact that I used to feel really safe here and it wouldn't bother me going out at any time.

Police did arrive within a matter of minutes after I called them. 2 unmarked cars came screeching up. We had a drive around but couldn't spot him.

I guess nothing can be done about it really, other than trying not to go out alone.

(on a side note, something I learned in the army for you to mull over. I was taught that if a knife is brought in to a fight, you ARE going to get cut. The only thing is, if you accept this you can decide where you get it. I'd much rather take a knife in the forearm than through the chest.)

Headhunter said...

You make Brockers sound like a war zone. I've lived here for 2.5 years and in London for nearly 10 years and I've never been threatened, stabbed, in a fight or had any such problems, ever. I think you can take off the body armour now...

Anonymous said...

Kool. im 15 years old mixed raceand ive lived in brockley most of my life but i lived in brixion which we all no is bad yh?. brockley in my eyes as a 15 year old is not bad but not good either. i live down glendsdale road near lewisham college and wen i go shop i have t look over my shoulder. im known in brockley
but its not brok boys that worry me its the other areas like catford and se areas. they all have trouble with each other.

Anonymous said...

oh yh and i have been stabbed in brockely, sliced in my face and im not saying what ive had to do to get out of situations but u get the picture.

Anonymous said...

Just wondering about something actually. As a 15 year old, do you write like that - with no punctuation, spelling mistakes, text speak - for effect or is it an honest lack of understanding of grammar etc? Not trying to get at you, correct your English or anything, just genuinely wondering the reason for this style of writing common to many of your age...

Anonymous said...

Itz just da way it iz, is it?

The Cat Man said...

Headhunter, the English language is a British culturial trait therefore the 'PC' liberal elite will not promote it. Unless, of course, in a non-elite 'dumbed down' fashion so everyone can have a go at claiming to 'know' English even if they dont.

It will be text speak from now on unfortunately unless we vote in a different government.

Its actually worse in New York, I cannot even understand what people behind the counters in downtown Manhatten are saying!

The Cat Man said...

and I blame New Labour for that too!! :o)

Anonymous said...

It just goes to show you can't be too careful.

Anonymous said...

Hee! Thanks for the laugh anon.

Headhunter said...

Actually I do empathise with the comment about people serving food in New York! The number of choices is bewildering and staff in cafes, fast food places, sandwich bars etc rattle of choices of bread, types of meat, dressing etc so fast it's almost unintelligable.

Of course New Yorkers are used to this overwhelming choice and probably go to these places regularly so know exactly what they want, but for us poor Brits it's a nightmare. It must be even worse for non-English speakers.

It just made me nervous as the queue got longer and the guy at the counter had to repeat every set of choices a few times to me before I could decide. People were checking their watches, rolling their eyes. Problem is, each time you say "pardon?" they repeat it at the same speed and just as unclearly so you have to say "pardon?" again, and in the end just end up going for the 1st thing on the list as it's the only thing you understood...

Brockley Nick said...

Very good anon - nice to see someone else quoting David Mitchell on this site at long last.

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