Brrrr in Borough Market and Beyond: A Photo Walk

There are a few reasons why I love a good lazy Saturday afternoon browsing the stalls in Borough Market.

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The smells, for one, are reason enough to return time and again – melted cheese bubbling and browning on fresh bread, Summer scents of sweet red strawberries and perfect plump tomatoes, perfectly brewed coffee smells wafting out the door of Monmouth wrapping through the inevitable queue lined up around the corner.

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The reason I ventured east a few weeks ago with Carolina and Leslie was mostly for their fabulous company but also for the food: roasted duck piled into fresh ciabatta rolls. Yum!

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Can’t believe I haven’t had a chance to put these photos up yet! I’ve been busy building websites for my dad’s business, Sadler Garden Collections and now my brother’s Sadler Fence and Staining. My dad’s site is finally live if you want to stop by and see what I’ve been up to: Sadler Garden Collections.

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The other site will probably take me the rest of the month to finish, but after that, the blog should be more alive! Anyway, throughout this entry are some of  my photos from that Saturday, finally.

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Come along, I’ll take you on a little walk…

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Curvy little narrow cobbled streets surround Borough Market and I love to explore them (not great in heels if you’re wondering).

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You know the phrase “In the clink”? It came from the famous Clink Prison on Clink Street. It was burned down in the riots of 1780, and of course a tourist attraction in the form of a museum you can tour sits in it its place.

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None the less, like much of London, it’s an area steeped in rich history. It’s also the location of some pretty popular films and TV shows: Oliver Twist, Doctor Who, Bridget Jones’s Diary and An American Werewolf in London all contain scenes filmed on Clink Street.

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Just around the corner, in another nod to history is a replica of the Golden Hind, which circumnavigated the globe in the late 1500s, captained by Sir Francis Drake – one of those names that takes you back to childhood history classes.

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It’s always surrounded by tourists (and people like me) pointing their cameras.

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But it’s easy to see why. It’s colourful, first of all, but it also has lots of lovely little details.

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On the other side of the market is the Southwark Cathedral, a beautiful building that is a little slice of history in its own right.

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According to their website, “Southwark Cathedral is the oldest cathedral church building in London, and archaeological evidence shows there was Roman pagan worship here well before that.”

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Near the side of the cathedral, just outside the market, there are a bunch of seats so we settled in there to eat our duck rolls, brushing the flour from the tops of the rolls off of our faces and coats every few minutes. Delicious!

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With frozen fingers and toes, we wandered through the winding side streets in search of some tea and came across this little door (which is smaller than it looks) and an old Banksy piece next to it.

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On the nearby Vinopolis Piazza is a fun, Crayola-coloured canopy of umbrellas.

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I’m not entirely sure why they are there (feel free to enlighten me), but I think they’re pretty fabulous.

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One more close up…

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After an afternoon of constant girly chatter, giggles and tea, we parted ways and I decided to walk back to Chelsea for some fresh air. Took a few hours!

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There was a lot to look at along the way. Architecture, mailboxes…

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…some left over graffiti from the Olympics.

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I wandered down The Cut, past the painted Lord Nelson pub.

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Upper Marsh Street (where my favourite Scooter Caffe lives) and through the Leake Street graffiti tunnel.

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There were tons of artists working away and of course the intoxicating scent of spray paint.

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They’ve even painted the bins.

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From there, I found myself dodging tourists on South Bank, but I stopped for a shot of good old big ben with one of the fish on the lampposts that line the river Thames.

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From there, on over the Westminster Bridge where one of the lights on the corner had burned out. As a friend pointed out on Flickr, in that location you would think they’d have fixed it!

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After that windy walk, I put the camera away and stuffed my freezing fingers into my pockets. You can see from this last photo what I mean. Brrrrrrrrr!

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The end. Hope you all have a fantastic week ahead!

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Listen to a Londoner: Lisa Bolton

Listen to a Londoner is a weekly interview with a Londoner – someone who lives in this city, born here or elsewhere. If you’re up for being interviewed, email littlelondonobservationist@hotmail.co.uk.

lisa
Lisa Bolton

Lisa is a northern lass from the French countryside who is integrating into London’s Colombian community. She’s trying to get used to overcrowding and living like battery hens whilst growing very fond of cultural diversity, chips and Primark!

LLO: How long have you been in London, where are you from originally and what brought you here?
LB: I’ve been in London for 2 and a half years. I was born in Salford, Manchester but have lived in nearly all my life in a forest in Normandy France which is where I call home. I came here for work and a new beginning. After finishing my studies and working in Spain for 2 and a half years there was little work in France so I made my decision one morning to come to London and find a new job!

LLO: Which area of London are you most familiar with and what’s the best thing about it?
LB: Having lived in various areas in London I really love Elephant and Castle and Brixton. As I said I grew up in a forest 2km outside a village of 467 people. I had a pretty sheltered life to say the least. I had heard so many horrible things about these 2 areas I was scared to death, but there is a really sense of community. Even though I have moved away from the area now I still enjoy going to Weight Watchers every week in Brixton and the Ritzy cinema is brill and there is a lot of different shops. And Elephant is the best place in London as there is so much going on, transport is excellent and you feel as if you are in another world. You can walk into central London in 30 minutes!!!

LLO:  Tell us about your favourite unique London discovery.
LB: Uhmm, quite hard. I think it depends on what you are into and unless you are in that scene you wouldn’t know about it. Thanks to my circle of friends which is made up of Colombians I suppose it would be the Vallenato sub-culture and the private parties, functions, festivals and carnivals.

I would also say that the Fitzrovia live radio performances are a great discovery and brilliant. They often perform at the Globe’s pub The Swan. I discovered this through my friend and ex-flatmate who is an actor.

But of course my most precious unique London discovery is my fiancé Carlos who I met here.

LLO:  Where are your top choices for a night of dancing?
LB: I LOVE dancing but mostly salsa. However, I REALLY like G-A-Y to let your hair down and for cheap drinks! People there are really friendly and will come up and dance with you.

I don’t really like the “Latin” places here. The music is not that great and the dancing is quite the same. I believe La Floridita is great and it has been recommended, but I’ve never been. There is one place in Brixton called “La Mazorca” which is a bit of a dive and there are a few dodgy characters BUT if you go in a group they play great music and have a great dance floor. Otherwise, I have always had the best dancing time at improvised parties in various little bars and open air festivals like “Carnival del Pueblo”.

LLO: Give us an unusual or quirky idea for a date in London.
LB: To be quite honest I have no idea, probably not been on enough dates to know. But I recently met up with a former flatmate who told me he had had a few dates since we had last seen each other and one guy took him to a taxidermist shop! Needless to say he didn’t go out with him again!

LLO: If I only had one night in London and wanted to head away from the tourist trail for food and drinks, where would you send me?
LB: Gosh, this is a hard question as it depends what type of food I fancied. I have my favourite Colombian restaurant, French restaurant and Indian restaurant! But I suppose if I weren’t here I would be living outside the country and therefore it would probably have to be a pub where I could have steak and ale pie and chips. It’s not off the beaten track but the Horneman over-looking the river on the south bank near London Bridge is easy access and the food is quite nice also, but most good pubs could probably do the same.

LLO: If you want to experience another culture in London, what’s your first choice and where do you head to find it?
LB: WOW, the choice is incredible as London in itself is a cultural mish-mash. The first time I went to Whitechapel, I thought I was in some Asian country. It was incredible. Elephant again springs to mind. Latin American and African cultures are predominant and you can get by just speaking Spanish!

LLO: Tell us about a London memory that could only have happened in London.
LB: I am an English teacher on Oxford Street and I have large, very culturally diverse groups of people who maybe have never left their country before. They have strong preconceptions about different nationalities, colours, cultures, sexual preferences and, of course, religion. As a Teacher it is very hard to approach such sensitive subjects especially concerning homophobia and the stigma which every Muslim/Arabic student is viewed with. Some Latin American students have never met a Muslim let alone a woman in traditional dress. But one day in a class in which I had Baptists, born again Christians, Catholics, Buddhists, Russian orthodox, Shintoists and Muslims (from Turkey, Russia and North African countries) the debate turned to religion which I allow as long as everybody respects each other’s beliefs. The students all found common ground within their different religions and traditions using English. They all got along so well and were respectful of each other. I know sounds corny, but I really warmed my heart that despite all the war and hatred in the world, people from  incredibly different walks of life found they were all the same.

LLO: Who is the most interesting Londoner you’ve met and why?
LB: Everyone in London has had an interesting life and a story to tell. But one of my students, Maria, had come from the slums of Lima, Peru, and had been to a school run by nuns and financed by fundraising from Europe. She had worked her way up to become an English teacher and came to England to better her skills.

Doing the job I do has been a real eye opener to see that intelligent, highly qualified people who are psychologists, engineers, lawyers, film directors etc… perform menial jobs due to their legal status and language skills in order to learn the language. It really angers me when you see office workers ignoring cleaners knowing that they are probably for more qualified than them. It cost nothing to smile or acknowledge someone.

LLO:  If you were to move away from London in the future, which five things would you miss the most?
LB:
1) Cultural diversity
2) The choice of different products and restaurants
3) The different events
4) Primark
5) Public transport especially the tube (despite all the strikes, hahhaha!)

Thanks Lisa!

For more Listen to a Londoner posts, click here.

Pearly King of Bow Bells

Another great submission to the Little London Observationist Flickr pool by Buckaroo Kid. This is Harry Mayhead, taken at London Bridge, SE1.

The comment under her photo reads: “Although it was a freezing day, Harry kindly stopped and allowed me to take his picture.
I do love these outfits, and the whole tradition of Pearly Kings & Queens – but I’m not sure about those gloves! ”

(If you haven’t seen Buckaroo Kid’s London Art Spot interview with more great London pics, check it out here.)

A Wander Around Borough Market

Last Saturday, I decided to visit Borough Market, pick up some orange-stuffed olives and have a warming glass of mulled wine before the holiday season escapes completely and the mulled wine stalls disappear. The market is unique from other London markets because it only sells food – and some pretty unique choices and delicacies at that. (Ostrich, anyone?) It’s down near London Bridge, open Thursday – Saturday. If you go, I recommend a stop at Monmouth for coffee and dinner at Brindisa (a Spanish tapas restaurant near London Bridge station – you can’t book a table, but it’s worth the wait!)

Here’s a few photos from the market:

Check out their website for a list of traders, events and open hours.