Sunday, 23 November 2008

Everybody loves Lucy


When Lantana was still a building site and I was surrounded by debris, dust and builders I would often look up to see a curious pair of eyes peering through the glass front door. That was how I met Lucy, oldest resident, matriarch and unofficial Mayor of Charlotte Place.

Lucy and her husband Dave moved into their small first floor flat above what is now Lantana in 1950 when rent was 7 shillings and sixpence.


I imagine it was a very different looking street in the 1950s than it is today.

Dave was the morning postman for 34 years, starting on a wage of £5 a week, and together they raised four children with no bathroom and only one bedroom to share between the six of them. Their children and grandchildren have now scattered across the globe to New Zealand, Sweden, Australia and Switzerland but Dave and Lucy have always been happy in Charlotte Place and say they will never leave, despite still having to walk down the street to a neighbour's to have a shower.

True to her Irish roots, Lucy is utterly charming and has the gift of the gab. I used to look forward to her daily visits when she would tell me about the various residents and businesses in Charlotte Place and see how our building works were progressing. Lucy’s oft repeated phrase, which did little to assuage my own concerns was, ‘You’re spending a lot of money dear, I do hope you do well’.

Everyone in the neighbourhood knows and loves Lucy. At lunch time she can be seen taking a stroll along the street, chatting to her subjects, receiving kisses and settling any disputes.

When one of the neighbours stopped to complain about my sign being too far out on the pavement, Lucy had a quiet word to her and the woman was on her way.

Once we were up and running I managed to convince Lucy to take me up on my offer of afternoon tea at Lantana. She came with Veronica, who has also lived in Charlotte Place for over 30 years, and after dismissing my suggestion of tea, ordered lattes and tried our banana bread which Lucy had never heard of ; “I’m a daft ol buggar”.

They were soon chatting to customers at the tables either side and told them that they were going to try to find me a husband- one with some money as "You don't want a husband with empty pockets".

I think Lucy’s a lucky ol buggar to be so well loved and content at the age of 84.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Without wanting to sound rude, I think posting personal details of someone’s life on your blog is a little unnecessary given that you have only known Lucy for 5 minutes. Many of us in the area have known her for 15+ years, and would never consider doing such a thing.

Peter Clowes said...

I think it is a great post. If only more people took the time to find out about the unsung heroes living in their community. I work with senior citizens and there are so many stories that we risk losing if people don't take the time to listen and write them down. Great blog BTW - you write so well. I wish I lived in London to visit Lantana. Good luck with it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anon, In case it wasn't clear from the post, I asked Lucy if I could interview her for a story I wanted to write about her as the oldest resident of Charlotte Place.

Shelagh

Anonymous said...

A really good review on the resaurant:

http://booinlondon.blogspot.com/


Keep up the good work!!

Adam said...

Hey Shelagh,
I've just stumbled onto your blog while trying to find a photo of my old street, Charlotte Place; what a nice surprise it was to find a little post about Lucy. I lived opposite Lucy at number five for a couple of years (05/06) - she's such a lovely lady - Charlotte Place is so much richer for having her there. Please say hi to her from me :)

Congratulations on Lantana also, it looks fantastic. I'm from Melbourne (and back there now)... and the idea of a Melbourne coffee in 'my' little laneway could almost have swayed the balance to keep me there - I would have loved to make it my regular. I'll be sure to stop in for a coffee if/when I return to London.
I couldn't wish you more luck with it!
Adam

Shelagh Ryan said...

Hi Adam- so glad you stumbled across my blog. Thanks for the support from afar. I'll tell Lucy you said hi.
Shelagh

Reiss Gunson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
anjali said...

Birmingham Web Design
Birmingham web designing is a Birmingham based blog which has been designed by Suhanasoft, and Indian web Design Company. The company provides website design, web development and search Engine Optimization services at affordable prices. Our creative design and developing secure website has made us popular among our clients. We have developed several websites from demark.

FUT 14 Coins said...

Without wanting to sound rude, I think posting personal details of someone’s life on your blog is a little unnecessary given that you have only known Lucy for 5 minutes. Many of us in the area have known her for 15+ years, and would never consider doing such a thing.

LOL elo boost



Buy FUT 14 Coins