Tuesday, April 09, 2013

London, a weekend.

Continuing the series; London things what I have done since moving to London. I'm going to start with this weekend and work back, so I've got something to write about another day.  The London Things series going to slow down a little as I make a conscientious effort to stop panicking about doing ALL THE THINGS straight away. I think I've been having a little trouble coming to terms with the notion that this London lark is a long term project, that it's not a holiday and I don't have to fit ALL THE THINGS in before someone makes me go home. This is home. Mindblowing.

So I'm trying to slow down, to once again practise being and not doing. Wish me luck.

In the meantime, here are some London Things we did this weekend, while my girl Sophie was visiting.

Columbia Road Flower Market. It's true what they say: GET THERE EARLY. Especially if you're going with toddlers, animals or people who get angry in crowds (me). We went this weekend with Sophie, she had a professional interest, we just wanted stuff for the garden. And stuff for the garden we did buy. We got there at 8.10am, it opens at 8am, and it was already getting busy. By the time we left at 10am I was on the verge of some sort of breakdown, in fact I nearly punched a tiny Japanese tourist because she kept stopping right in front of me in shop doorways to take pictures of the shops before she went inside. I didn't punch her, I just muttered 'for fuck sake' very loudly, multiple times. You can't get arrested for that. Overwhelming business aside, it was pretty amazing. 

We set ourselves a budget of £20 each to buy whatever we wanted (but no more fruit trees for Nye, not one single one.) and it was a good thing because otherwise we could have spent a lot of money that we didn't have. I bought: a pale pink astilbe (£5), a foxglove (£2.50), a delphinium (£2.50) a small eucalyptus (£4), a tray of pale pink tulips (£5) and a small metal bird (£2.50. I went over-budget) because he felt nice in my hand and a bird in the hand is worth two punches in the face of annoying tourists. Nye got totally overwhelmed and spent a tenner on two white Hellebores and three little pots of herbs before joining the rest of us in a cafe and muttering 'it's all too much'. There is a pretty good selection of plants but it's all a bit random and not much good if you're looking for a particular variety or species. It also helps to know a bit about plants before you start, lest you come home with a tiny £4 eucalyptus to discover that actually, it grows to 80ft. We nearly spent £15 on a beautiful contorted willow which would have looked lovely in our garden, but a quick iphone google came up with the warning; 'only plant in wide open spaces, this tree gets big.' Which is a bugger, because it was gorgeous. 

The cut flowers are of course beautiful, plentiful and cheap. But as I have a big ole bunch of supermarket daffodils on the go at the moment I couldn't bring myself to buy something that wasn't growing. 


sorry to the woman who jumped out of her skin when I squealed 'PEONEEEEEEEEZ!' at a ridiculous pitch. 

hello to the woman with the spaniel who recognised W&P. 

If you spot a hummingbird in London don't make a tit of yourself following it around the market saying loudly 'look! A hummingbird!'. You don't get hummingbirds in Europe, it's just a dirty great moth. 

Sophie and I spent Saturday alone in Central London with absolutely no toddlers, it was bliss. We started at the V&A where we took in the jewellery collection (holy hell, SPARKLES!) and she tut-tutted and Caitlin-Moraned at my wistful sighs of 'I wish I was a princess'. Then we made a swift dash around the fashion department, me lusting after the 20s, Soph after the 60s before departing for lunch. We had planned to stop at Harrods to buy some macarons but in the event we forgot. Turns out neither of us rates macarons that highly when there are burritos and tacos and quesidilas on offer. We went to Wahaca (silly name, patchy service, excellent food) and ate everything. Then doughnuts dipped in chocolate sauce. 

Then we walked down through Soho and Chinatown to Trafalgar Square to take in a little pillow fighting. I say 'little', Trafalgar Square was hoaching with pillow fighters. Soph thought it was excellent, I was completely skeezed out by the feathers everywhere  Don't. Like. Feathers. It was World Pillow Fight Day (that's a thing) and people were really going for it. Nelson kept his back turned throughout, I don't think he approves of that sort of thing.