The houses grew scruffier as I turned on to Shepherd's Bush Road and the traffic grew louder, car windows rolled down and hip hop bouncing into the street. I passed the Thai supermarket; the little old lady at the till by the door looked up and recognised me. She smiled and I waved. This was my patch -- past the off licence, delicatessen and newsagent's. Brook Green stretched out of the left, the parched plane trees dropping their skin-coloured leaves where a group of tramps and drunks always gathered on two benches facing one another. You could smell them from a few metres away. The same lone woman was usually in their midst. She was worn but ageless, thin in tight jeans, with white flaking skin and thick Afro hair. I crossed the street if I ever saw her walking towards me, asking for money. I guess it was her patch too.
The Book: The Saffron Kitchen by Yasmin Crowther, page 9.
The photograph [click to enlarge]: Shepherd's Bush Road, looking towards Brook Green, which is my patch, too. Photo taken by kimbofo, 12 March 2005.