Sunday, 8 August 2010

Nostalgia or just London rain in my eyes?

What joy I felt visiting Portobello Road Market with Madeleine Saturday afternoon! Great trip down memory lane for me. Nostalgia at it's most powerful! You see, I grew up around it, went to school there (Isaac Newton Secondary) and regrettably, also became complacent about it... until this return visit, that is.
What a fantastic market! And I am not just referring to the street stalls selling everything from freshly cooked paella to hand-made jewellery, from old vinyl records to handcrafted stage costumes; but also to it's variety of shops selling used designer clothes (prices to die for), musical instruments, leather jackets and handbags, and everything else under the sun. Traditional British pubs occupy every street corner, scenting the area with the sweet smell of brewed hops and sausage & mash. It is a joy to mingle in the throng of tourists and to listen to the locals with their unmistakable west London accents, as we snake our way from the Nottinghill end to the Goldborne Road intersection.
We made our way to Lisboa Patisserie in the hope of getting some Pasteis De Belem (see pic below) wonderful Portuguese delicacies, akin to the British custard tart; and of course a cup of 'real' coffee. Sadly we arrived too late for the Pasteis which are baked daily on the premises and have a habit of selling out by mid-day! When will the owners realize they are losing business and start supplying to demand? It's been the same for the last 30 years!!
Madeleine saw and fell for, a designer used handbag, (Louis Vuitton or Gucci...), I can't remember now, and has vowed to return for it as soon as her own handbag starts carrying money again. :)
Portobello Market is not the sort of place to visit if just reminiscing, as in my case, or window-shopping, as in Madeleine's. You really do need to take a wad of cash, as there are bargains everywhere. And most importantly you need to set aside a whole day in order to enjoy it's potential.
Madeleine and I have vowed to return to this most fascinating of markets on a regular basis. We may even rent an apartment nearby as soon as finances allow.
So dear friends, if you are ever in London you must visit Portobello Market, for to miss the experience would be a tragedy akin to:
...visiting Paris and not seeing the Eiffel tower, or Stockholm and not seeing the "Old Town", or Madrid and skipping the Prado, or Piza and not visiting the tower, or New York and not seeing the Statue of Liberty, or... good grief, sorry but I'm getting carried away, again !...must be the new medicine, or the quitting smoking, or the lack of a job, or the lack of sleep, or...or.. AAHGHHHHHHHHH