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’ cliché 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 cafés – 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.