TUESDAY 20TH MARCH 2012.
Sometimes you lie in bed at night and sigh with satisfaction as you reflect on what has been a perfect day.
Well today, my 62nd birthday and our 12th wedding anniversary, has been one of those days.
We had no plans, no museums to visit or palaces to see. Just Michael and me wandering through London, seeing what came up and where the fancy took us.
I had left Michael in bed, whilst I went for coffee with a a charming American couple, Jody and David, whom I had met through Our Paris forum.
Michael had left a message on my voicemail “you never have that phone out of your hand when you are with me, now you don’t answer! Meet me at Notting Hill Gate”
“Notting Hill”, counjers up images of Julia Roberts anf Hugh Grant , but the main street is rather ordinary, the charity shop however, is really rather posh!
The houswares shop next door was interesting name I can’t remember,, where I browse for half an hour whilst my dear husband does his usual, mooch around Oxfam. The plastic grass and cute food covers look interesting in the shop but I know will not seem trendy in my 1960’s bungalow in Bolton!
So we catch a bus, the 31 to Camden Town, past trendy retro clothes shops on the edge of the Portabello market and elegant Edwardian tall houses, street upon street, with people going about thier dally lives, children in crocodiles going to school and old ladies with shopping trolley going to the shops. Eventually the landscape changes, the houses are still elegant, but not so well kept and the people are not so smart.
We spot a market, (my husband LOVES markets) and as I needed the loo, we get off.
The underground toilet should win a prize for the best kept toilet in London. Immaculately clean with flowers and a friendly attendant. but the market is really just a car boot sale and a sign tells us this is Maida Hill market.
We browse the stalls, but this is really poor stuff, the area is obviously deprived.
We spot an awning and a friendly man selling Caribbean food,
The friendly man’s name was Leroy and he offers us curry goat and jerk chicken, both served with rice and peas (what else!) and salads. I opt for the curry goat, (which is actually mutton)and Michael has the jerk chicken, with Leroy s special jerk sauce he makes himself.
Oh Man! it tastes like manna from heaven! the best curry goat I have ever tasted.
A girl sits and chats to us as we eat, and we observe the market. As we watch, people come for food, all ethnicities are here, Caribbean, Indian , Asian, Middle Eastern, Eastern European, South African music plays from CD stall, the atmosphere is vibrant with people are laughing and shouting to one another. There seems to be a real community spirit and they make us strangers feel welcome.
The friendly man’s name was Leroy, who chats to us and tells us that on other days the market is in full swing. Lots of produce, food and everything else. He is the market superintendent and also runs his stall. The market was revived a few years ago by the local council and seems to be thriving. When he can afford it he has a jazz band to play at the weekend.
We catch the bus bak to Kensington High street, the other end of the social spectrum. As we near our stop a couple greet a friend and we give them our seats, All have accents like the Queen! Smart ladies walk around with little dogs, polished men in suits and there is definitely cycle chic here!
We discover the most amazing supermarket “wholefoods” selling organic and natural food. Seems to be housed in an old department store. Two floors of foods and a food hall on the upper floor selling all kind of food to eat in or take away from “proper” burgers , pizza, sushi, omelettes, crepes and an amazing vegetarian restaurant.
We settle for smoothies and a organic rocky road cake to share.
It seems they even deliver dahling!
Later we walk around the area, admiring the multi million apartment blocks.
How the one per cent live!
..and chic town houses. While Michael sings “we’re all in this together” ( sorry British joke)
For an afternoon treat Michael takes me to Harrods, an interesting bus ride away, past the Royal Albert Hall, for a decadent hot chocolate fudge ice cream sundae.
Whist our neighbours had the Harrods special! at £20.
I have never taken much notice of the décor at Harrods before, but it is really rather stunning especially the Egyptian elevator. (library pictures)
..and the constellation ceiling.
The perfect day was rounded off by a theatre visit. I love that London has this vibrant theatre scene, all around Leicester square and Shaftsbury Avenue this is where London has the edge over Paris .
We clapped and tapped our feet to the music of “The Jersey boys” the story of Frankie Valli and the four Seasons. With Ryan Molloy, as Frankie Valli, who is so talented, he can sing dance and act.
So we came out with the feel good factor just a wonderful day!
Love from London
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