European Journals

Day 8: A Day on Cathcart

5 September 2017


Cathcart's a good choice... 

Cathcart's a good choice... 

We got up at a normal time the next day and I got Teysia to a café while I went to the new barber - Blades & Fades, with an Afro Samurai logo and black barber. I walked in to chatting Indian or Pakistani patrons, one getting cut by the main man, and the younger looked at the barber and got a nod, so he took me in his chair. I told him what I needed and said it was way overgrown, and I felt him take a deep breath. Half hour later, he'd only made it to the top of my ears…


Right when I sat down he asked where I was from, I told him the US, though I could say Canada, being so close. He asked why I'd want to do that, I said, "ah, you know why man, I can't stand who we've got leading us and all that." The shop was quiet for the next 25 minutes or so until Joel, the main barber turned on the tunes. Four guys walked in after me and I was glad I came in when I did, though the first of them got to sit with Joel. About the time he got to the top of the fade, Joel came over to show the young grasshopper how to use the clippers more smoothly, so as not to slam into my head each time like he had been. The younger barber had gone to college and taken barber's courses, but said he learned most from right there, just the few months he'd been there. Joel, while fixing the fade a bit, asked if I wanted a trim on top and I said yeah a fair bit and the kid said he could handle it and Joel says yeah? Yeah. So the kid sprays down my hair and awkwardly starts turning my head into a soft ice cream cone and just trimming bits off. I tell him to go ahead and take a good bit, but after 5 clips he seemed done. I was a bit worried and began to play with the cowlick in the back and Joel asked if I wanted it shorter in back, I said, well, I just want it to lay right, it's hard to get right, you know? So after another second, he jumps over and kicks the kid to the other chap and told him it was just a fade. I didn't want it to be awkward, so after a second I said, you've got some confident moves, he says yeah, I say, you've seen a few more heads than 'im, yeah, it's all good, everyone's got to learn some way I say. I said I liked the Samurai and said, you're the master here, eh? And he says, oh so you know the history, and I said yeah, man. I asked him where he was from, because I could hear a Caribbean accent. He said Trinidad, then London and we just talked then, about how he needed some green in his life and it took him too long to figure out that the city wasn't for him anymore, but he wasn't going to move back home, I said it can be a tough place, and he said, "it's not an off-the-shelf culture." After 15 years in London (he left Trinidad at age 17 I think), he missed the lush. He'd even considered Skye. It was just a wicked good chat, how the rain isn't bad because it makes it green. He was just wicked chill. I know if I were to live in the area, we'd hang out. The whole time he was cleaning me up he was dancing with the younger guy ("we make good partners"), getting tools from his stand and the younger guy getting his. I was very happy with the cut after. He's quite pro, for sure. The younger lad checked me out and wasn't going to let me tip, but for 10quid, I had to leave another one. On my way out, I said to Joel, "next time I'm around, you'll see me," an he put out his fist for a bump. Mad chill.

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I went and got Teysia and we went to the Fish Hook. She got fish n chips and I got another cheese sammich and sweet potato fries and mushy peas. It was quite good for fast food, though a bit expensive. We went back to the apartment and worked for a while and then went out again, asking a question at the train station, then stopping in at Mala Carne, a cute little café in a wonderful little building. We sat at the window and got coffees and ordered some food for dinner. A couple of very odd Middle Eastern guys sat outside in a car for a long while, making us a bit nervous at first. I figured they were just waiting, and eventually a woman got in and that was just it. The food was splendid, and veg. We even got some polenta chips, which I'll have to try to make sometime.

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We went back then and planned the next few days over tea in the kitchen. After going out again, Catherine came back and told us Ted had gotten in a scuffle with a bigger dog and had "a proper puncture" in his neck. She was a bit worried but figured he'd be ok. We got to sleep a bit later than we'd wanted. 

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