I wish I had reason to travel on London’s tubes every day. Not so much for the need to reverse, with force, into a jam-packed capsule that hurls itself at crazy speed through the nether networks of the Big Smoke, but so much for the entertainment that communal travelling provides. Every time.
On Saturday, we went to Portobello Road Market. On the tube ride there, we noticed a guy – who looked like he could have been Rod Stewart’s slightly less talented and largely less handsome cousin – who was seated on the end seat of a set of three seats. The other two seats were empty. Why? Because his dog – if you could call it that, he was more of a small elephant with a brindle coat and not so much a trunk, as a small briefcase – was lying in front of the other two seats. Dog owner was completely oblivious to the interest and annoyance that his dog was causing. I think he was oblivious to everything. Some young girls got on the tube and oohed and aahed over the brown heap of dogness, stroked his head and asked his owner what kind of dog he was. Dog owner remained expressionless, and I couldn’t tell if he answered them or not. Big dog became uncomfortable, pulled himself up to his full height and then climbed on to the seat next to his owner. After carefully turning himself round, he sat upright on the seat. And remained there until they got off at their designated station. Not sure how dog owner knew where they were but off they went. Huge dog in punk collar and gormless owner. It was unclear who was leading whom.
So onward and upward to Portobello Road. What an amazing and fascinating market, completely crammed with antiques, beautiful things, old and new things and things you would never want near your house. And that’s just the people! Actually, when we arrived, a few outrageously beautiful young men walked past us, and then some more, and then … I wondered if we’d missed the memo that Saturday was beautiful people day? Oh no! Then I saw a couple who clearly hadn’t got the memo either, and I felt better.
As you walk along Portobello Road you walk through market after market after market. Antique markets, flea markets, clothing markets, food markets … wonderful sensory overload! My husband, being the music lover that he is, is magnetically drawn to any music stall, second-hand record shop or CDs anywhere. He sniffs them out at about 100 metres, and he cannot walk past without clicking his way through every single CD on the rack! There was plenty of music to look at and he was in heaven, although he didn’t find anything he wanted to buy!
We browsed and we wandered and we bogled and we walked. We saw two cute little pug dogs who were attached to each other by a collar and followed their dreadlocked master wherever he went. Wish they’d stayed still long enough for a photo but their master was walking and they were following. We stopped for the most delicious falafels at Falafel King and then walked through Notting Hill to get back to the tube. We stopped at The Tabernacle (where we saw Diane Birch perform) for a coffee and then travelled home for X Factor!
On the tube home, I saw a young guy wearing a T-shirt that said, “No, I will not fix your computer.” And we heard my favourite station announcer at Waterloo, who I think always wished he worked on the Johnny Carson Show. He is fabulously enthusiastic and bubbles: “Helloooooo! And WELCOME to Wadderloo! Mind the gap between the train and the platform. And wherever you may be going to today, be well, do good work and have a nice day!” Even Londoners, sometimes, pay attention.
Yesterday was a beautiful autumn day in London. Church was great and late in the afternoon we went for a walk around our neighbourhood. I took the camera in case we saw a roadside shoe – Maura at 36×37 publishes photos of random roadside shoes and I’ve been dying to send her a London contribution. We saw a roadside comb, a roadside toilet and then, after walking along the edge of the Thames, watched a chilly sun set on a wonderful week.
Sunshine signing off for today!