Please give generously to the Robert Preston fund …

Hidden under hoarding, the crafty Pret prepares for attack

Hidden under hoarding, the crafty Pret prepares for attack

… in order to help him finish his sentences. Watching him on Robert Preston Goes Shopping is quite a task. He flatlines mid-sentence. Sometimes I think he won’t make it to the end. I’m willing the next word out of him. He makes that ‘gn’ sound… then away he goes. Phew! Never once does he fail.

He’s quite irresistably nerdy too. And if I had someone talking finance to me, I’d want it to be him. Theatrical and possibly theatrically inclined, he could while away the hours reading aloud War and Peace in my lounge room while I, say, wash the dishes, vacuum the house, scrub limescale off the taps.

On last night’s programme, he was talking about the death (and rebirth) of the high street. The revival of any shopping street relies on the death of it – in particular ‘The Zombies’, the shops that are barely alive yet somehow keep ticking over until a good ole recession stabs them through the heart with a wooden stake (oh OK, that’s Vampires but cut me some slack – yeah?). In their places appear new youthful businesses, pimply-faced and raring to go, taking on new staff and re-building the economy. In principle, it sounds true. So why are so many Prets appearing on the street?

OK, I’m guilty. I have bought my coffee from them in the past. Now I go to Eat two stores down. Eat has only swamped half of London and, for this, we can be thankful (and if Mr Preston is ever short for a job, I’d love to hear him say ‘Tall Skinny Latte with a dash of cinnamon on top’)

Shiny, happy Eat

Shiny, happy Eat

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