Society chairwoman speaks out about why she loves Highgate

Former television producer Kirsten de Keyser moved to Highgate six years ago. The retired mother-of-two, originally from Denmark, says she likes to fix things in the community when they are wrong and was made chairwoman of the Highgate Society in April this year. She tells reporter Tara Brady about what she enjoys about Highgate

1. What brought you to Highgate?

The search for the ultimate in easy-living. And Highgate is the perfect one-stop-shop for easy-living. Loads of shops, restaurants, pubs, buses, parks. Fresh air because it’s on top of a hill. Tube at the bottom of the hill. And it’s all very pretty. What’s not to like?

2. You’ve had a bad day, what makes you smile on your way home?

The charity bloke dressed up as a purple Teletubby outside Pizza Express doing a hilarious miming routine to bemused passers-by. I live on the High Street and it’s always really buzzy, never a dull moment.

3.Tell us a secret about where you live

Are you kidding? If I told you it would no longer be a secret. Why don’t you come up here for a bit of Sherlock Holmes and find out for yourself? The cemetery should provide fertile ground for a bit of secretive intrigue.

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4. What is the area’s best guilty pleasure?

I never feel guilty about pleasure, but Le Chocolatier shop would be a good place to start. Followed by a spot of skin cleansing in one of the beauty parlours probably. Of course, a vigorous workout at All About You might be a more fitting follow-on from the chocolate shop.

5. You are mayor for the day. What would you change about Highgate?

The heart of the village is our unique shopping street, so I’d slash the business rates so that all kinds of shops would have a fighting chance to stay in business without having to charge a mortgage for their wares. I’d then invite everyone from all our neigbouring villages and have a party.

6. What do you do in your spare time to relax? Get a bunch of friends together and set out on the (in)famous Highgate pub crawl. A guaranteed top day out. There must be 12 or 15 cosy pubs within walking distance of each other up here. I’m afraid I’m usually beyond counting by the end of the day.

7. If you had �100 to blow in Highgate, how would you spend it? I’d sit on it until December 13. On that day, every year, I blitz the high street shops, do all my Christmas present shopping in one hit. I finish up in Pond Square for a good carol sing-song in the evening. Even the most bah-humbug-grumpy grump would be a Christmas convert by the end of the day.

8. If you could write your own epitaph, what would it say?

What a ride. Loved every minute of it – even the tricky bits.