24/9/12 – To Market, to Market (with a bit of drizzle)

Sitting in Starbucks on an incredibly rainy day writing a blog post, reading the paper, and doing some homework while occasionally taking breaks to people watch out the large street view window in front of me. Not much else could make this a better “bundle up and bring your umbrella because you’re going to get soaked, better yet just stay inside and do as little as possible,” kind of day. Although, I absolutely love the rain, I definitely underestimated London’s ability to make you wish you were in a desert. Up to yesterday, we’ve had absolutely fantastic weather. It’s nice to plan a trip and know that the most you’ll expect from Mother Nature is a lite sprinkle in the early morning; otherwise, sun and high 60’s (Fahrenheit). Looking at the radar now, I can be almost certain that the sun will surely not come out tomorrow. I’ve taken to listening to Monty Python and, “always look on the bright side of life.” Without the rain, there’d be no lake-sized puddles on the roads for the busses to hit with fantastic speed and ultimately create an ocean-sized wave that annihilates any pedestrian within splashing distance. This is awful to be caught in, but as you can imagine, pretty hilarious to watch. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m an awful person.

I have to say, people watching may be my most favorite activity. Let’s take it step by step. I start with the feet. What in God’s name do some people put on their feet?? I’ve seen everything from Croc’s to 4 inch alligator skin boots. In amphibian battle royal, I’d of course pick the Croc’s. I mean, really? Alligator skin is so not cute paired with mud stains, soaking wet clothes, and a sour demeanor, because yes, you are getting drenched and, yes, you did wear the wrong shoes for the weather. Speaking of Croc’s I saw an advertisement the other day in the Evening Standard that showed the percentage effectiveness of certain types of birth control. 1: Condoms – 99% effective. 2: The pill – 99% effective. 3: Croc’s – 100% effective. Pure brilliance, in my book.

Okay, back to people watching. The next thing that baffles me is the lack of sturdy umbrellas. Why would you buy an umbrella that literally only covered your head and, on occasion, one shoulder? Not to mention the sure lack of protective diameter, these seem to be the flimsiest pieces of rain protection anyone could buy. With the slightest gust of wind, it’s turned inside out and then where are you? Certainly, not dry. I invested in a sturdy, collapsible brelly before I departed the states and I’m quite happy with its ability to keep me relatively dry. I ultimately think of Mary Poppins when deciding on an umbrella. Would she have invested in a tiny, flimsy, accident prone piece of crap to carry her away into the sunset? I don’t think so. Come on people, this is London, and rain is a part of the lifestyle.

This past weekend was market weekend for me. I couldn’t help singing, “To market, to market!” while I perused the endless isles of food, crafts, clothes, and, oh yeah, more food. As it turns out, I’m only a 15 minute bus ride from two of the greatest markets in London. Saturday was the day for the Borough Market on South Bank. The foodie’s paradise as I would call it. One can literally find it by using his/her nose for the aromas from the curry, grilled cheese made with delectable gruyere, delicious pies and the sweet basil scents from the fresh pesto waft along the streets encircling the market. After spending about an hour wandering through the rows of vendors, I finally decided on getting the Thai green curry. What a choice. It was the perfect blend of sweet coconut with the warm, spiciness of the curry. Of course I had to finish it with a scoop of apple pie flavored goat’s milk ice cream – family favorite. It made me think of fall in Wisconsin, traveling up to Bayfield for Apple Fest, and most of all, my grandma Shirley’s famous apple pie served with ample amounts of sugar, butter and cream (ice cream to be more exact not that I wouldn’t put it past her to actually put cream in the pie). This goat’s milk ice cream was an addictive rendition of my childhood memories and warmed my heart up to the temperature that the curry had made my stomach. I was full, satisfied and ready for a nap.

Sunday was a day for crafts as we caught a bus to the Spitalfields Market near Liverpool Station. Although, Mother Nature had decided to try and keep us inside with the gale force winds and batches of extremely wet rain, Spitalfields Market is covered (thank the Lord) so we were kept perfectly dry as we weaved in and out of isles laced with scarves, leather goods, hand-stitched clothing and woolens. I kept on thinking, “Christmas gifts, Christmas gifts, Christmas gifts,” and then would glance down at my wallet and think, “PB&J’s for life,” and, “Canned soup all day every day.” I didn’t buy anything (this time) but my roommate made me purchase a fairly cheap (and might I add, totally worth it) falafel pita from one of the vendors surrounding the market. After my Ramen Noodle binge the week before, this was a well needed reward to my taste buds.

All in all, it was another fantastic week in London. I, again, thank everyone back home for all of their love and support. My next post will most definitely be on my upcoming weekend in Edinburgh, Scotland! It’s time to get this Bonnie Lass back to her roots and explore the history of the Stewart Clan.

Cheers!