Goodbye ‘N’ good luck

RB013-270721-Masud-Beg-2-sized-19.5© Russell Boyce

Marian Temple of the Wanstead Community Gardeners leads the farewell tributes to Maz Beg, who is retiring after 24 years behind the counter of Heads ‘N Tails, the High Street shop that sells ‘everything’

In 1998, Maz Beg arrived in Wanstead to open the ‘everything’ shop, Heads ‘N Tails. It sold pets, pet food, pet paraphernalia and just about everything else. How pleased we were to have an ‘everything’ shop. Wanstead had been sadly lacking in such a thing, especially after Brian Jobber of the much-loved Andrews hardware and everything else shop had retired. An ‘everything’ shop is what every high street needs and many are sadly devoid of such a thing.

The first thing Maz did when the shop opened was to invite customers to list what they would like him to stock. He has continued in that vein ever since. Maz will get anything for you. If it’s not at the wholesalers, he’ll order it on Amazon. Either way, it will arrive at the shop or at your door if bulky. At some time, the ‘everything’ expanded to include plants, seeds and associated garden stock, wool and haberdashery.

The Wanstead Community Gardeners have greatly appreciated Maz’s unfailing generosity over the years. Any spring bulbs not sold came to us. Thus, the daffodils along the fence by the wide grass verge in Wanstead Place are all from Maz, and more get planted every year.

In the Gravel Garden over the far side of George Green, the first spring flowers that appear are the hyacinths, all from Maz.

We have never paid full price for anything bought for the community gardens, whether plants, hose connections, water butt taps or whatever. Joy of joy, he was always happy to lend us his battery drill. So useful when a trailing cable would create all sorts of problems. Maz’s generosity to our group has been a generosity to Wanstead.

Now, after years of working long hours, it’s time for Maz to retire. How lucky we were to have him for the past 24 years! The new owners have a similar shop in Queen’s Road, Buckhurst Hill and hopefully will continue with the same stock, but without the wools and maybe the plants. That would be a pity! Perhaps we can persuade them to continue with the plants. So many people buy them from Heads ‘N Tails and the display makes a welcome splash of colour in the High Street.

Well, Maz Beg will be a hard act to follow. A person who has gone so many extra miles for his customers that he must have worn a groove somewhere.

We will miss him, but he goes with our very best wishes and appreciation of the difference his presence has made to our community. Well done, Maz. Enjoy your retirement, whatever you do.

Heads ‘N Tails is located at 21 High Street, Wanstead, E11 2AA. For more information, call 020 8989 6945