You don't have to call in Mary Portas to rescue your High Street. Instead you can buy a few branded balloons and banners, pick a Saturday in June and bring the community together. Yesterday in HA6 was Northwood Hills Independents Day, organised by the traders of Joel Street to celebrate their local retail option. A very typical Metroland parade, this, long and broad with a tubestation partway down. It's got a plumbers merchants and various hair options, an ironing shop and a gents outfitters, with barely a chainstore in sight. And on Saturday it also had multi-coloured bunting, strumming guitarists and two stormtroopers pounding the pavements to pose for photos. All the participating shops had a poster up offering a special promotion, some better than others, from a free tea with your haircut to 20% off everything. Most had spilled out onto the pavement with a selection of their wares, which isn't something that the opticians or the funeral service are used to doing. Even the local vicar was out with a boxful of clingfilmed salads, although they didn't seem to be selling well so he was eating one himself. Free hemp shopping bags were on offer, printed with an extraordinarily attractive image of what the area used to look like before the railways came, courtesy of the London Transport Museum. And god bless them, the local population had come out in droves, helped by the good weather and the offer of face painting for the littluns. They queued for street food, they snapped up homemade cakes and they spent rather more in the high street than they usually do. Which was the idea. It'll take more than one carnival afternoon to secure Joel Street's future but, like so many suburban parades, we'll all miss them when they're gone.