I went to a market on Saturday morning.
Nothing untoward about that.
This market was in Parliament Hill Fields in London, in the grounds of William Ellis school at the bottom of West Hill–old stomping grounds for me–I went to school in Highgate–just up the hill.
It happens every Saturday and is beloved by the residents of this densely populated area of north London.
A barking chorus of what look like adorable dogs–large and small, hairy and smooth, tethered to the wire mesh fence–greets you on arrival.
“Don’t forget the bones!” is obviously the anxious message.
You can bank on bumping into friends, everyone shopping for the social occasions of the weekend.
The marketeers come from far and wide. There are breadmakers, cheesemakers, cakemakers, butchers, fishmongers and numerous vegetables stalls. There’s even one dedicated to tomatoes–tomatoes in March?
I ask the stallholder about that, after he gave me one to try which was wonderfully sweet. He says he grows them under cover on the Isle of Wight. There’s no answer to that!
Another stall sells a variety of game with ready-to-cook pheasants, partridge, wild ducks and pigeons. Venison too.
These last two stalls reminded me of what I miss in France, where I glory in the market culture and its emphasis on the seasonal, but where it’s often difficult to find “the out of the ordinary”.
Pheasants and partridge are hunted wild but not farmed–I rarely see them in the markets or supermarkets.
Farmers markets in the UK usually offer this variety of produce, plus a helping of home cooked fare in an atmosphere of village fetes in summer.
I found myself feeling a touch of envy for this Saturday crowd of Londoners, out in the spring sunshine and planning their tasty weekend meals.