Sunday, October 11, 2009

Saturday 10th-I survived Portobello Market

Us girls were going to visit a market today. Thankfully, as it turned out, Sophie decided she’d have a quiet day in with Maddie instead, we just wouldn’t haven’t managed with a pushchair. I headed off on my own for the famous Portobello Market which wasn’t too many tube stops from Gloucester Road station. I didn’t have a map to find my way there once I exited Notting Hill station but I had read that you didn’t need one, “just follow the crowd” They weren’t wrong! It was mid morning and already the crowds were building. It’s about a kilometre walk from the station and both sides of the narrow footpaths were chocka block, everybody heading in one direction.

Heading to the market

Once into Portobello Road I took the obligatory photo along with every other man and his dog and then we still had to walk another half a kilometre or so before the market proper started .

Along the way I came across this car, what an insult for such a car! You just don’t want to park in the wrong place in London.

There were people arriving from every direction, on foot, in taxis, out of buses, they were coming in their droves. Mum & Marion, don’t you just wish your markets were like this!

Everywhere you looked there were tourists with their cameras too. At the beginning of the road all the antique stalls were lined up, then it ran into the clothes, jewellery, knick knacks, china, silver, vintage this and vintage that. Then came the food stalls; hundreds of them with lots of wonderful smells(and some not so great) after that the flowers, fruit and veges, then artists and craft people, then into the crappy stuff and the modern junk and on and on it went. Even down some of the side alleys and smaller streets.

In amongst all the stalls and masses of people I came across an tiny empty space with a bouquet of flowers on a box. They were in memory of a stall holder that had obviously passed on. How touching, I wonder how long before the site is snaffled up by someone on the waiting list.

It took me at least 3 hours to walk to anywhere near the end of the road. It still ran on as the road rose up towards the end(I assume) but as I knew I had to return the same way I had come and by mid afternoon the crowds had grown ten-fold. There was barely room to move on the way back down, shoulder to shoulder with bags and valuables clutched to your front you moved with the flow. By now it was virtually impossible to get anywhere near the front of the stands. I thanked my lucky stars that I had come early.

Mr Plod kept a wary eye on proceedings but I'm sure he would have had trouble getting anywhere near any trouble and not just because of the crowds. Look at the size of his feet!

We are trying to!

There were plenty of buskers scattered amongst the crowd competing for any spare change of which they seemed to score quite a lot. Check out this guy's bass- an old suitcase!

I took a short video of them playing, you can watch a sample of these buskers here, click and view-

I made my way slowly back to the Tube and by this time the footpaths were spilling over with people heading in both directions.

And I came across another one of these in Portobello Road

And still they arrive in all shapes and forms

And there I was thinking it was a couple of hours flight away.

There was also a lot of noise coming from the traffic as everyone tooted and shouted for the pedestrians to get off the road. What an experience! I was glad to get back on the tube and sit down for a bit. I by-passed Gloucester Road(truth be told I got on the wrong train) and headed to Earls Court to check on the guys who were well under control after a very busy day.

After a long day at the show again we decided on dinner in the apartment and after my bangers and mash the night before I thought some more comfort food was in order- two different varieties of pork sausages, mash potatoes and mixed veges! Pete, Sophie and Maddie came down to our apartment for dinner then it was an early night for all!

Any amount and type of veges prepacked and ready to cook!

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