May 29, 2004
Strange Shop

I know that there are several schoolkids who read these pages - so without trying to sound patronising I’m just warning you that this posting contains reference to material that could potentially be unsuitable for those under 18 - and possibly even offensive to those over 18. So - if you are lucky enough to be under 18 then you may admire the picture below - and if you also press the play button the media player underneath it you can enjoy the sound of a midi-sequenced version of a very popular song from the 1970s - which is still popular today. Turn up the volume loud - and go right ahead and dance to it if you like.

Bright purple seats, cyan poles and yellow buttons - top deck of the Route 79 bus

If you are over 18 then click MORE below to continue.

Here in Kingsbury suburb of North West London - there is a strange shop just off the High Street - on a road called Honeypot Lane - sandwiched between a solicitor’s office and the derelict Prince of Wales pub that I wrote about in one of my prior postings about our local High Street. It’s called Cherry Pye Boutique - and it’s an exotic lingerie shop. Neither of these things are the strange aspects of it. No. What’s strange about this shop is as follows:

  • There never appears to be anyone running the shop. The shutters in the window are permanently down. The only indication that there is life inside is the “open/closed” board on the door is turned around every morning and evening at opening and closing times.
  • I have walked (or bussed) past this shop thousands of times in the last 10 years - and I have NEVER seen any customers walking in or out of it - EVER.
  • Over 90% of the local population is of Indian/Asian origin - and the current generations are largely quite modest-in-public people - so the location of this shop here in Kingsbury is baffling to say the least. I’ve never seen anybody even browsing the items in the window from the outside. Locals have learned to simply walk on by and not look. (It always makes me laugh when I see, say, a couple of Indian ladies wearing saris and perhaps new to the area - unwittingly walk up to the window whilst chatting away to each other - and then suddenly realising what kind of shop it is - and backing off in shock and embarassment!)

Cherry Pye Boutique on Honeypot Lane in Kingsbury
(Picture taken from the top-deck of the Route 79 bus)

I have always wanted to walk right in and simply enquire about all these things - but either never really had to bottle to do it - or else it’s actually not been open when I’ve walked past it. Last year sometime - the shop had a fresh coating of it’s distinctive red paint - and I noticed that an Internet website address has been painted on it. The website reveals that exotic lingerie is just one of several product lines sold by this shop - in what I would call “adjacent” markets. It also has another branch in Ealing.

Perhaps this “shop” is actually conducting most of its business by mail order catalogue and online - meaning that the shop itself is simply a small warehouse for the items on sale? The guy who cuts my hair at the barbershop on the High Street is always joking on to me about Cherry Pye Boutique: he thinks that there are illicit things that go on in the flat above the shop - but I personally cannot imagine what. It’s impossible to tell anyway - because the flat above the shop has heavy lace netting behind the curtains - so it’s kind of hard to see inside - even from the top deck of the bus.

Posted by jag at May 29, 2004 03:33 PM

How DOES he keep it running without any customers? Shouldnt it have closed down eons ago at that rate?

Posted by: sat on May 29, 2004 06:19 PM

No idea Sat. I can only assume that it must be generating business SOMEHOW - perhaps just not by “walk-in” customers?

Posted by: Jag on May 29, 2004 07:30 PM

Hi Jag,

Nice post. Sorry to blurt into your blog, but Margareta is asking me to check if you and family Route79 want to come to her picnic on the 6th June?

Posted by: Marcus on May 29, 2004 08:07 PM

In these days of high real estate prices, its surprising how one could manage to keep the shop afloat. Strange are the ways of some ppl. :)

Posted by: Chakra on May 30, 2004 07:51 AM

Hey Marcus: no problem. Please tell Maragareta that I will definitely be there! Rest of 79 family will not be there though (something else happening that day also.) - so just me. Looking forward to catching up with you guys again!

Posted by: Jag on May 30, 2004 09:21 AM

Chakra: Like I say - I think that it is staying afloat (and maybe even prospering) in some other way that doesn’t require “footfall” in the store.

Posted by: Jag on May 30, 2004 09:23 AM

When I was a student, there used to be a shop at the Ravenscourt Park end of King Street in Hammersmith which apparently sold Afghan carpets. In the two years that I lived there, it was never open, but had carpets on display (and they changed them) in the window.

I was sure there was something iffy going on there, but that was probably just my fertile imagination.

I don’t remember Cherry Pie being on there when I lived in Queensbury, must be a more recent addition.

Posted by: Nigel on May 30, 2004 12:21 PM

Hi Nigel: I think you moved out before 1993?Cherry Pye has been there since 1993 - which is when I moved here from Clapham.
I wonder if the Afghan carpet shop in King Street Hammersmith is still there? :-)

Posted by: Jag on May 30, 2004 03:58 PM

Thanks for the Dancing Queen midi, it made my Monday morning :) - and was very apt after going to see Mamma Mia on Friday night. The theatre was jumping to this song, in fact I thought the Upper Circle might collapse it was vibrating so much!

I reckon Cherry Pye’s selling on the internet, or by mail order - somethings are better sent in plain brown paper…

Posted by: Fi on May 30, 2004 11:37 PM

Glad you liked it Fi!
I agree with your theory re Cherry Pye!

Posted by: Jag on May 30, 2004 11:53 PM

It can’t be a coincidence that this shop is on Honeypot Lane, can it? Or is that just my imagination? However, it does remind me of a similar shop I saw years ago in Adelaide which was advertising “marital aids” on its storefront. I guess that’s been painted over by now.

Posted by: David on June 1, 2004 02:55 PM

Hi David - you know what - I hadn’t even thought about the Honeypot Lane connection until you mentioned it!

Posted by: Jag on June 1, 2004 09:00 PM

The owner of Cherry Pye used to run a stall at the Blackbushe Sunday Market. We stumbled into it by chance and looked at the articles in display. At the third or fourth visit we bought something and this changed our life for the better. We would have never found the guts to walk into a sex shop but the stall at the Sunday Market was funny and not embarrassing. We will be always grateful to Cherry Pye.

Posted by: Alex on June 27, 2004 01:00 AM

Purple color is connected with magic and mystery in our minds. Where does the bus go to? I’d be afraid to take it.

Posted by: Lingerie Girl on November 28, 2004 08:09 PM
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