WHO'S WHO: Monica Black, Hampstead hypnotherapist
MONICA BLACK is a hypnotherapist at Hampstead Hypnotherapy, at the Dental and Medical Centre in Heath Street, and has lived in Belsize Grove for eight years. WHY DID YOU MOVE TO BELSIZE PARK? I had been living overseas for 14 years and wanted to come back to London. My sister lived around here. I came to Belsize and found everything I was looking for. I felt welcomed instantly. I wouldn t ever want to leave.
WHY DID YOU MOVE TO BELSIZE PARK?
I had been living overseas for 14 years and wanted to come back to London. My sister lived around here. I came to Belsize and found everything I was looking for. I felt welcomed instantly. I wouldn't ever want to leave.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT THE AREA?
I love the community here. It has a really nice, village-y feel to it. When I first moved here I had my wallet stolen and couldn't get any money. The shopkeepers just told me to have what I wanted and settle up later. There aren't many places in London where that would happen. I'm on first name terms with most people here.The dry cleaner waves at me every morning. I love that.
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WHAT IS THE WORST THING?
The parking. Even though I have a resident's permit it's still a problem. They're always digging up the roads, or there are parking suspensions. There's never anywhere to park and you end up with a ticket. It's such a rip-off.
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WHAT IS MISSING?
We could do with a really nice dress shop instead of another coffee chain. Every other shop seems to be a Starbucks or a Costa. It's a shame that The Belsize pub closed. I miss having a local. It had a lovely atmosphere. We were all sorry to see it go.
WHERE DO YOU GO LOCALLY TO EAT AND DRINK?
I like the Freemasons Arms, in Downshire Hill. It's lovely in winter when you can snuggle up by the fire and in the summer you go outside. The food is delicious. Most of the restaurants here are wonderful. The Black and Blue restaurant on Haverstock Hill is particularly good. They serve such lovely fresh food and it's very good value for money.
what do you think of the house prices?
It's outrageously expensive. House prices have gone through the ceiling. It's obscene, really. There's some naughtiness going on. It's such a sought-after area and people don't want to leave, so people can charge pretty much what they like. I couldn't afford the house I live in if I bought it now. You need a lot of money, but the shops and restaurants are reasonable.
IF YOU WERE MAYOR FOR A DAY, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
I'd scrap the congestion charge. I know that it helps cut pollution and reduce carbon emissions, and that's important in the grand scheme of things, but it's raking in so much money for Ken Livingstone and it isn't being spent on the environment.
The tube and bus services are really good, but if you want to go to the other side of London, you have to pay the £8 congestion charge. Maybe I'd also do something silly, like throwing a big free party for everyone.