I saw Clayton Littlewood’s ace blog on his Top Ten Things About Soho and told him I would think of my Top Ten Things About Tooting, I also thought after the rather heavy (but very important) previous blog this might be some light relief. When people ask where I live and you even mention south of the river there can be a look of disgust. If you say Tooting there is a look of puzzlement.
Now Tooting isn’t really famous for much other than curry which I will be mentioning more about later. Its main fames are as Clayton mentioned ‘The Bill is occasionally filmed around Tooting and the Thai bride from Little Britain, Ting Tong Macadangdang, is from Tooting’ but really The Bill is centred more around Collier’s Wood. There is of course Sandi Thom and her basement concerts, but let’s just gloss over that, though I did see her do the Popjustice interview outside the station and have passed her in toiletries in Sainsbury’s. WE are also famous for having the worst post sorting office in the whole of the UK. So what do I love about Tooting?
1. The Markets
Here in Tooting we don’t have one market, we don’t have two markets we have around ten. Some are the full on markets where you can come away with some slippers that will fall apart, all sorts of snacks from around the world, a budgie and a tattoo or two. (A tattoo or two in Tooting frankly should be the area’s tagline.) Others are like mini marts where you can get endless spices, and endless varieties of fruits and veg you have never heard of cant pronounce and you might cook wrong and do some damage but that’s part of the fun. I have to say since we moved to where we are now I have never eaten so much fresh fruit and veg, it’s marvellous. Oh and I must mention Tilda Talcum Powder. Only Tooting seems to stock it, it comes in the most amazing turquoise art deco bottle actually made of tin. It makes me smile when am soaking in the bath.
2. Curry Houses
I could eat curry morning noon and night. Mr B doesn’t like spicy food but that’s frankly just tough. What’s brilliant about Tooting is that at the moment there is an estimated 22 curry houses and I am quite happily taking on the challenge of eating in every single one. Oh every single one has won at least one award; some have won twenty apparently, the competition is hilarious and also makes the prices cheap! I love the curry houses here as they aren’t pretentious and false like some you get they are a bit like a café in terms of cheap tables and chairs only with amazing fresh curry at whatever heat you like.
You couldn’t make it up could you? This is incredibly well hidden (and am not saying where as want it to stay that way or everyone will be eating there) but is my favourite café in the whole of London. The staff are really friendly and you can have the full English with fried bread, scolding strong tea, gorgeous mushrooms, the whole works for £4! It reminds me of cafes up north which is odd as the theme is meant to be Italian.
4. Cheapest Council Tax in the UK.
That doesn’t really need expanding on does it?
5. The Library
Now some people would say that Tooting Library is the worst in the Wandsworth borough. You can never get the book you want especially if it was published after 1989, there aren’t actually many books in it and if one is in stock it won’t be where it should be. I go there not for the books but for the memories. With its outdated furniture, peeling wallpaper and old book smell its like the Library of my childhood in the 80’s... in fact really they should make it a museum of the 80’s they wouldnt have to do anything.
6. It’s the capital of the world for Lidl.
Well not officially but we do have three, yes that’s right three. Why we need three I just don’t know, but we do, and if like me you love having your cupboards filled with tins of god knows what then its perfect, priceless and life wouldn’t be the same without it.
7. Hardy’s On A Sunny Sunday
Also known as ‘the f-ing massive yellow pub’. You can often find me here in the summer, bathing in the sunlight next to the main road and the car fumes. It’s not that bad honest. I am not there on Sundays for the Sunday roasts as generally the vegetables are still frozen in the middle. What I am there for is the platter which is stonking huge with ribs, prawns, garlic mushrooms, onion rings, chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, it goes on and on! It is the stuff of legend and all for £12 to share between two, which could actually feed four. It’s also full of nurses if that’s you thing.
8. The Tooting Tesco Beautiful Baby Bear
The stuff of porn legend, well he would be if he was in it. Seriously unbelievable eye candy! I had to pass him once in the cramped (well it is a Tesco local) tinned foods section and haven’t been quite the same since. Mr B hates the Tooting Tesco Beautiful Baby Bear.
9. Primarni, Pound Shops and Charity Shops
Now I am sure several people will be saying ‘oh pound shops and Primark how cheap and vile’ my response is ‘blah, blah, blah’. I have been asked on many an occasion where I got that t-shirt etc and have even been asked by some to shop there for them! You can’t go wrong with some Primark same applies to pound shops. Though I hear it on good authority that Balham has converted its old Woolies into one of amazement, you can even get a firemans outfit for a pound. Why havent they done that with Tootings empty wollies or M&S? I have pound shops to thank for my Audrey Hepburn collage in the boudoir. As for charity shops sadly one of them has just closed down, however three others are still going one of which is like a book buyers Mecca and I have had people come to visit just for this particular book store where you can get 6 books for £2. Yes really. The staff in there are brilliant if you need characters for a book, the main lady tells everyone who wants to hear her business and the staff’s private business. I always have my headphones in but with nothing playing, her barrage of gossip is priceless.
10. The Lido (in summer)
Want to sunbath, see endless men (mainly of the knackered nurse, hot chav or DILF variety) in their summer swimwear finest, then really there is no other place to be, Oasis Shaftesbury Avenue has nothing on this. Oh and if your there to swim it’s the biggest Lido in Europe, yes really.