Our Patch July 2015 - Page 8

Our Patch july 2015 W hy does agony aunt Virginia Ironside remain such a staunch fan of Shepherds Bush when some pals have upped sticks and flitted south to supposedly leafier climes? Peering over her glasses with a schoolma’amly look which defies reproach, she says it’s the rich variety of shops, the neighbourliness of W12, and the civility of the population that appeal. “I’m just so used to Shepherds Bush being diverse,” she said. She loves the retail mix, though she confesses to hankering after the occasional upmarket boutique. “You can buy a single banana, and coriander is 50p a bunch… as opposed to Waitrose where it’s £1.50 for three leaves,” she said. “You know, I do like the designer shops in a place like Dalston, but Shepherds Bush is resolutely untrendy!” The principal reason for her contentment with W12 is that ‘the people are very, very nice’. She cited a recent incident to support the assertion. Arriving back in the area with a weighty suitcase after a trip away, a bearded man in a flowing dishdash gallantly leapt to her aid and insisted on hefting her luggage all the way home. “There’s a civility about Shepherds Bush that I love,” she said, adding that one reason is that so many of the area’s residents don’t drink alcohol for religious or cultural reasons. Virginia has lived in the same house off Uxbridge Road for 40 years, opening out the original cramped galley kitchen into a light, airy living space with the proceeds from her early books. Now in her eighth decade (she turned 71 in February), she clearly I’m the mad old woman who turns to you on the bus and says something relishes her most recent career shift into semi-autobiographical fiction; detailing the witty observational thoughts of a streetwise Shepherds Bush granny confronting the ageing process. It, in turn, has spawned a stage career, with former Young One Nigel Planer directing her one-woman 8/9 Virginia Ironside says that li