I’m currently in London. I know the city pretty well, having lived here on and off throughout my adult life, so it often feels like I’ve done all the things that need to be done here.
But then I read a travel blog the other day that said you should treat cities you know, or places you live in, as if you’re travelling through them – go out, explore, do all the things you’d do if you didn’t actually live there.
So on Saturday I decided to take that advice.
I found out that there was an annual summer market going on at North End Road in Hammersmith, so I took myself down there to hang out.
It was fun. Highlights included…
Giant fairies on stilts
They wafted through the market as if it were perfectly normal to be hanging out as huge fairies, high above the mere mortals.
It made me feel like we were living in the future. As if at any moment a robot-human hybrid could come walking around the corner. Perhaps one could.
I love modern life.
After a while the fairies stopped for a snack and a chat.
In contrast to the giant fairies, other things seemed smaller.
You could support a local school
…by buying bags made by the kids. I bought one, because I’m a sucker for anything that supports local education.
And I also liked how the signs were written in the kind of language I use on a daily basis.
Of course, one of the biggest modern crazes is buying local, something I support wholeheartedly.
North End Road market was embracing this idea with vegetables that were Definitely British:
One of the things I love so much about local markets is that you can find things that you wouldn’t normally be able to buy.
For example, I met a lady who was selling pretty pottery. I bought a candle holder and a plant pot, and then I asked whether she had a shop.
“No,” she replied, “just the stall.”
“Oh, OK. Well where do you sell normally?”
“I don’t. This is a one-off. I only made these six as a hobby, and now I’m selling them because I don’t need them.”
So I have the only plant pot and candle holder that look like this.
She used a quick-firing method to get the iridescent paint effect. I love it. I want to buy more. But I can’t. But then again, if I hadn’t gone along to the market at all, then I wouldn’t have been able to buy any of them.
I wandered around for a bit longer, sat on the pavement and watched the buskers, sampled the Moroccan food stall’s offerings, and then went home.
It was a very nice day; I recommend London’s summer markets whether you’re a traveller or a local. There’s no better way to get to know the local business owners and get a taste for the area.