Tuesday, 28 February 2012

...And then there was a weekend in London (Part II)

Carrie and I woke early Saturday morning. I’d managed to convince myself that she’d already got out of bed and made coffee, but this had in fact been a dream. There was no coffee in the house.

I may not have woken to the warming smell of caffeine, but there was bright sunlight streaming through the windows. It was 8am... quite possibly the earliest she and I have been awake. Ever. Oh, there may have been an occasion at University when we stumbled in at 8am but that’s an entirely different story. But that could have been someone else. Sections of University life remain a bit of a blur.

As we’d agreed, we made our way out to Notting Hill Gate, ready to fight the masses to meander down Portobello Road. Secretly I hoped that someone might throw orange juice over me, but since I am not an international film star, I think the awkward romance would be amiss, and it would instead result in a heated confrontation along the lines of “...Why don’t you watch it, mate?”

I took the standard photographs of the road signs – you shall never remove the tourist from my inner-self. But I was able to be a little more subtle than the hoards of Spanish groups ( you could tell from their guide books to 'Londres'... top notch observation skills. MI5 here I come!) .
Although I had the added advantage of subtlety I was snapping away on my iPhone rather than my super duper makes-your-bed-too camera. (It of course doesn’t do that, but it does so much more than just take a photograph that I haven’t even learnt it all yet.)
It had to be done.

Upon arrival at the beginning of the market in the sunshine (it was so amazing), we were greeted by the musical talents of many buskers. Did you know Portobello Market is one of the only markets in London where you do not need to acquire a license to perform? but don't try to sell EP’s, otherwise the market officials hunt you down. Don't say you weren't warned.

If you get a spare moment, break away from this blog (but come back to to it if you will) and pay a visit to this band
Not only did they (The Robbie Boyd band) have prime position on the market; one of the first available free spaces and on the sunny side of the road , they had also attracted a large crowd of spectators. Each of them was smiling and bopping along to the sweet sounds. Check them out, I’m sure you’ll understand why.

Also , pay a little visit to see this band (they also played sweet melodies at the markets and plenty of venues around London town...)  Another of my favourites. Check them out at local gigs.
So Carrie and I are wandering in the pleasant sunshine on this Saturday morning. We perused many little vintage stalls and markets, and we couldn't help but think again of bumbling Hugh Grant and his house with the blue front door, and that lovely British film.
“Then suddenly it’s the weekend..”

It was.

“...And from the break of day, hundreds of stalls appear out of nowhere, filling Portobello Road right up to Nottinghill Gate...”

He (or rather Richard Curtis) is right.

“…And thousands of people buy millions of antiques, some genuine…”

Now there were some beautiful pieces...

“…And some not so genuine.”

...I did see the same locket twice. I’m even actually pretty sure they were identical even. Definitely not an antique – more likely an aged copy.

I could quite happily have lost myself amongst that market for hours. Looking at all the beautifully hand-beaded silk dress, animal skin handbags (definitely touched one that was totally unaffordable and should never have been on a market stall) and the pewter tankards. Not quite sure what the obsession with pewter was, but there was plenty of it around. And I stupidly didn’t have the sense to ask – so that shall remain unanswered until next time…

Unless of course, one of you fancies a little investigating adventure, and a reason to visit The Hummingbird Bakery . Mmmm. Yum. The smell of sweet sickly things was almost enough to make me wander in, but instead I resisted and drooled at the window.

Carrie and I didn’t walk as far as the end. We got to the Kurt Geiger shop by the food stalls, had a browse and then wandered along the route back, looking at the opposite side of the road.
And passing (for the second time) the strange busker playing Meatloat 'Bat out of Hell' from a CD player, with plastic guitar (not disimilar to that of a Guitar Hero tool), wearing one flipper and surrounded by a random assortment of objects. He was collecting monetary offerings from the public in a trainer.
I feel that in London, people accept these things are fairly normal and refrain from asking questions.
And the tourists swarmed.
Quite what you're El Chico would have to say about this when you returned home to Spain, I don't know.

So content were we with walking and spending little/no money we decided to continue our walking adventures and jump aboard the tube to Embankment.

We alighted, dawdled across the Millennium Bridge, with the obligatory stop to photograph the river down towards St Paul’s Cathedral and the Gherkin. I’m sure there are many tourists across the world with identical photos, and I really don’t mind if mine matches any of those.

Because there will be many more adventures to come with a half decent camera…just not necessarily on this trip.