I went to Newmarket today. I’d heard rumours, but I didn’t realise how posh it had got. Why, I remember in the ’80s when Newmarket was old and rickety and the plastic shop was located in the sloping stalls of the old Rialto cinema.

There’s been a lot of development down Nuffield Street. It used to just be the street that the Link goes down when it turns around in Newmarket, but now both sides of the street have been turned into posh shops.

There are lots of clothing shops (both fabulous and dire) and a selection of bars and restaurants (Otto Woo and Wagamama both have a home there). Surprisingly enough, there’s now a Swanndri boutique, displaying both traditional woollen farm wear as well as modern interpretations. They’re probably thinking Burberry, but it felt a bit like an extension of Speights advertising campaign.

My favourite amongst it all was Kikki K, a stylish Swedish-Australian stationery store. I like a good notebook, me.

I also checked out the Newmarket Fresh shop on Gillies Ave. It’s part of this apparent new trend in posh supermarkets. I was expecting to be very impressed, but I wasn’t. It just seemed like the deli section of an average Foodtown or New World, but spread over a larger area. And for a shop that seemed obsessed with freshness, there were an awful lot of canned and packaged foods. Most of the fresh stuff was fruit and veg, but even some of that was from California. But worst of all, there nice sweet things selection as abysmal. I couldn’t find any exotic chocolates. Just as well the deli at the Mt Eden shops knows how to do it right.

And finally I went to the expanded Smith and Caughey. The old part of the building is now almost entirely make-up. The new part next door has menswear on the bottom and ladieswear on top. It is trying very very hard to be utterly extravagant.

Something has happened in New Zealand society, cos while there have always been posh shops in posh parts of town, it never quite seemed that there was enough demand to that quite that much all in one place. Are the rich getting richer? Are people choosing to spend their money on fancy goods instead of cheaper, plainer stuff just cos it makes them feel nice?

All I know is that while Newmarket is the closest big lot of shops to where I live, I seldom go there.