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Sunday Wanders – Columbia Road Flower Market

Firstly, thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read and comment on my last post. You be delighted to hear I have another long and muse-y post to put up in the next couple of days. Or you might groan. Either way, it’s going up! But… thank you. All of you. Not a single one of you said, ‘Just shut it and post some more pictures’, and I am supremely grateful. I have even overcome my temporary aversion to taking a camera out with me, though I did have a proper motive, which was my next King’s Ginger post! But for now, something light.

Now, not to be a big ol’ clichΓ© of an East Londoner (well, a more-than-part-time resident, if not full-time), but there are fewer things so lovely to do with your Sunday than a stroll to the riot of colour and wonder that is Columbia Road Flower market. At about 1pm when they’re flogging off the blooms cheap. No need to get up early on the day of rest or anything! Hurrah!

The Market has been going in various guises since 1869, though it didn’t start out as a flower market and, in fact, was very nearly flattened by a bomb in 1940. The lovely Victorian houses that flank it – and today house all sorts of quirky shops and cafΓ©s – are still standing proud though and every Sunday, the flower-touting traders of old London town come out in force, to sell their beautiful wares to the lucky ladies and gentlemen of Hackney.

From pre-arranged bouquets to everything your creative mind could possibly want to put together your own, it’s not big but it’s absolutely crammed with people and the sounds of a Sunday afternoon: trader banter like “I can’t believe you Londoners, ONE POUND for this plant and you’re walking away”, and “I’m giving these away, two for a tenner, come on now – special one time offer”, while gesturing at a price sign that’s gone mouldy it’s been used for so long and couples discussing the best blooms for their living rooms.

My lovely young man has taken me there twice to buy me bunches of colourful roses, the first time I chose a second bunch in the form of a load of gorgeous thistles like those above. This weekend we also came away with some sweetly scented freesias.

My outfit will be revealed in more detail in my King’s Ginger history piece, but you may be able to just about see my Freddies of Pinewood t-shirt and my jeans, also Freddies, beneath my vintage faux fur jacket, which was given to me by my lovely Bethan (it used to be hers).

My shoes were a gift from Chatham Marine, last summer!

If you find yourself in East London on a Sunday, do go for a peruse of the flowers and treat yourself to a bunch or two… then a fancy pants coffee, or a delicious pizza in one of the local establishments. There are always quirky singing groups dotted around the place as well. If nothing else, I promise you a week of joy that only fresh flowers can bring to your home… as long as you remember to keep the water topped up in the vase.

And by you, I mean me.

Fleur xx
DiaryofaVintageGirl.com

21 Comments

beate

beautiful! all this flowers and you look so relaxed πŸ™‚
and – i read your blog because of the text. pictures are nice and welcome but i like to read good and personal texts with corners and edges – fashion blablah is boring on the duration. i would like to write more on this but google translator is not really a help……
– i cant believe that you be barefeet in your shoes!!!! in january – brrr –

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lucindajane

Gorgeous photos! Can I ask what lens you were using to take these? The bokeh effect on pic #5 is really lovely. It's something I've tried to achieve by using a prime lense with a large aperture, but it doesn't usually come out as good as this.

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Nika Chick

This place looks like heaven πŸ™‚ Amazingly beautiful flowers. Freesias are one of mine favorite blooms because of their fantastic essence and neat look. You are right: flowers bring delightful joy to your home.

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Shelly

I'm in love! Those roses and thistles are simply divine together!! And yes what better way than to spend a Sunday at the market.

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Julie

I love your blog I went to the Colombia market last year when I was in the UK I live in Australia, I follow your blog

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LollyWillowes

Oh, I am dying from envy! How utterly gorgeous, I adore flowers and all we have here is the Co-op and it's mangy bunches of wilted weeds. If I lived near something like this I'd be buried under the things.

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Vix

I was there in september-I do believe it's one of my favourite corners of london EVER-could have spent a trillion bucks on flowers galore and the stall holders were supreme. One rough as boots bloke screaming "DAHHHHHLIAS!!!" at the top of his lungs made us choke with mirth-adore.

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Lauren

I've actually never been east of the Tower, but I keep hearing about all these great things to do in Hackney. I'll definitely try to get my butt over there next time I'm in England. I love a flower market–it's amazing how well a bouquet perks up the house.

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