Following the earlier post about the sad death of Andreas Michili, I was passing the shop and saw a notice about the funeral.
The funeral will be held at the Greek Orthodox Church in Wightman Rd on 13th September, but I didn’t record any other details. If anyone would like them, I can have another look.
Andreas was a fixture in his shop, and on the pavement outside, for many, many years and will be sadly missed by his many customers. He is survived by his lovely wife Huyla and their daughter.
After Shilpa's lovely piece, some more about Andreas and his shop from me ...
Andreas Michli was our friend. Together with his wife Hulya, he ran the shop that was closest to our house. Two minutes walk away. A magical cavern of dusty spices, weathered pots, countryside vegetables, portraits, charms, buttons, lentils, rat poison, olives, humous, home-made pastries, seeds, and, and, and. An everything shop; in a space as big as a living room. He had lived in London for decades but treated his little corner of it as a village. He sat and watched the world on the pavement outside on a white plastic chair and welcomed it in.
You had to come in on his terms. Entering his shop was to enter into a relationship and Andreas was a shop keeper who preferred to supply families, homes and people, not customers. There were rules that had to be followed and he was not to be rushed. You may have to wait behind someone else whilst he had a long conversation in Greek, or was on the phone, managing orders. You had to take his recipe suggestions and you had to report back. You had to have cash – no debit cards here, but if you did not have the money, you could pay another time. You had to answer his questions about your family. You wanted to offer something back, and so in turn, you enquired about him and his family.
You were given a lot. You may be called up when special fish was delivered… ‘Andreas here’ on your answer machine, ‘I have fish’…… A smile and a wave as you walked past. If you were unwell you would be given herbal remedies from the stocks of herbs on his shelves, packaged by him; sage for chest problems, cherry stalks for kidney stones. You could discover the best tomato puree, the purest olive oil, learn how to cook vegetables you had never seen before, and over time, you got to feel that you were part of this village community, precariously housed in faded grandeur, perched on this large corner pavement in Harringay.
Andreas gave our keys to families that came to stay in our home and welcomed them for us into our neighbourhood. They were entranced and one ended up moving here too. The shop had struggled for years, but he did not leave it for an easier or for another life. This was the only life he had and the only one he wanted, and the web of connections it brought to him enriched all of us who were part of his world. His stubborn ability to be who he was in a world that had changed changed all of us who regularly ventured over that threshold. But the world often disappointed him and made him angry, and his inability to turn the clock back was hard for him to bear. Thank you for your stubbornness and for raging against this for all of us, Andreas. Together with your wife, Hulya you gave us sanctuary and a place to be human. We are very grateful for this, and that you made Harringay your village and gave us a place where we could belong.
Liza you write beautifully, with passion and love. It made me cry! Thank you