Askew Wines came into being when Wine Rack went bust in the economic crisis - the manager bought the premises, and six years on has a brilliant, thriving shop built on a thoughtful edit of wines to suit all palates and pockets (you can buy something decent for about eight pounds or something spectacular for thirty, and all points between and beyond) and he also has a cabinet of oozing, unctuous, pungent French cheese, a collaboration with the french ex-pats favourite posh cheese shop in Kensington.
Just off Askew Road is Starch Green, the studio of artist/designers Kate Fishenden and Jonathan Mercer, who create incredibly beautiful illustrations, woodcuts, prints, papers and other delights. I have a small collection of their illustrated jugs and other china, and harbour long-range ambitions to commission something from them, at a time when funds permit.
The street also has a nice café - Laveli Bakery, previously an extremely ordinary caff which randomly made good croissants, bread and patisserie and has since slowly bettered itself and is now the café on the street: Mr Trefusis goes there daily for an americano, a pain au raisin, to read the papers and pass the time of day with his coterie of consultants and freelancers.
The Tiniest Trefusis has a fondness for a super-hip new cake shop called 'Cake Me Baby', where you can commission fantastical birthday cakes in a range of colours and shapes I'd never previously imagined possible, they also make spectacular cupcakes and cake pops which make Hummingbird look like slackers - you can pop in for a coffee and a cake and to admire the very tiny dog (I thought he was a cake when we first popped in, but he was just asleep), or simply to gasp and marvel at their inventiveness.
The latest addition to Askew Road is October 26 Bakery. Owner/baker/proprietor Raluca, pictured below, had always wanted to open a bakery, and jacked in the office job for a new life on the Askew Road, opening just five weeks ago. I've been walking past on my way to work, wondering why the windows are always steamed up, not realising that everything is made on the premises - isn't that a little bit marvellous? I find it hard to believe Raluca hasn't been making bread all her life - it's the kind that would break even the most committed carb-avoider - crisp of crust, soft inside, so delicious tasting that the baguette I bought earlier hardly made it home because I kept breaking bits off and scoffing it in the street, giving little moans of greed as I walked. You have to get there early - unsurprisingly they sell out fast - once you've tasted bread from 26 October, it ruins you for lesser breads. Other sourdoughs seem like pastiche against Raluca's - like comparing prosecco to Bollinger.
I'm imagining a summer in which long, leisurely lunches of good red wine and squidgy, stinky, wonderful cheeses from Malek's shop are accompanied by yards of Raluca's crunchy baguette or where a chilled Gewurtztraminer washes down gravadlax on slices of her rye and caraway seed loaf, or toasted sourdough tartines of goats cheese and fresh figs with a bottle of rosé.... And if the weather is rubbish, then knowing I have only to pop around the corner for amazing bread and cheese to have with hot, home-made soup will go a long way to compensate for the lack of sun.