Saturday, March 23, 2013

From market to market

Munson @ SpitalfieldsIt seems to have become somewhat of a ritual that I visit Spitalfields market in the days immediately before leaving London. I miss the rather ramshackle old weekend I visited originally, but the sparkling new daily market still has its attractions. On my final visit with Bondi in 2007 I bought two big paintings which now feature in my living room.

The noticeable loss this time was that Monmouth Coffee no longer have an outlet here, which meant an inevitable compromise in the first cup of the day. Fortunately I found a Costa with some Italian baristas who knew how to make a proper flat white rather than the “standard Costa version” which is basically an oversized weak latte with a foamy head.

The new market stalls have less variety to them, one particular stall seeming to have a copy of itself every three rows or so. Still, it was warm and I found myself falling into easy conversation with several stall holders. 
Gherkin & Falafal
Tower Bridge and the Shard from London Bridge
We walked up to the start of Brick Lane before going on to Borough Market, but the chilly wind which carried midwinter into this first day of spring was not to be endured passively. I turned us around and caught a tube down to Monument, so we could walk across the Thames to the market. As we reached London Bridge I caught my first view of the completed Shard, the tallest tower in Europe, although on this viewing, it doesn’t seem as lofty as Malmo’s Turning Tower, probably because of the way it dissolved into London’s misty sky.
Mont d'Or  Borough Market
Munson’s nose was immediately engaged by the rich scents of the market. I’ve been there with him several times before, and before that so often with Bondi. It’s one of our favourite London haunts … until today. Apparently “management” now have a no dogs policy (not posted anywhere I saw) so we had to leave – the faceless grey suits are winning over the welcoming smiles and treats from the stall holders and customers. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if the policy were enacted entirely without their knowledge.
the Flat White  Waiting for a flat white at Monmouth Coffee
Back across the Thames, we walked westwards towards Covent Garden again, this time passing St Paul’s Cathedral (my first time). One of the days I’ll get to visit it and the British Museum, I think my two major omissions from London visits … and I just remembered that I had intended to go the Cartoon Museum, and forgot about that.

St Paul's Cathedral
Covent Garden: Lindt Eggs  Covent Garden: Lindt Eggs Sponge Bob  Covent Garden: Lindt Eggs
Covent Garden market welcomed Munson warmly, especially at the Lush store where I went to buy some of their Aromorant deodorant I’ve used for the last decade. I learnt it had been discontinued, but was brought down from my entirely appropriate incandescent rage by the staff swooning over Munson and picking up our spirits after the Borough disappointment. A few people asked where we’d been that day and so I mentioned what had gone on at Borough and they were really surprised, but immediately began suggesting alternate markets to visit in future.
Covent Garden: Lush  Covent Garden: Lush
The last stop for the day was the Moomin store, which I discovered purely by chance. Even better news was that they had Moomin tablet sleeves that would fit my new Lenovo Yoga 13; extremely fortuitous given that Lenovo mysteriously abstained from selling the custom cover for this device outside of North America.
Ealing Park Tavern
The day was concluded with us taking Chris out to dinner at the Ealing Park Tavern, another regular visit when we’re in this part of London. Tonight’s meal neatly bookends Munson’s first night in this hemisphere nearly three years ago.

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