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Greetings From Columbia Road!

September 6, 2010

Well then, I was going to head into London yesterday but the trains, they were not cooperating (or, indeed, running) and so I stayed in instead and did a couple of things I’d been meaning to get to since I got back from Edinburgh, but kind of ignoring. You know, things like unpacking. Although, to be fair, unpacking within a week of returning from a trip is really quite good for me. Definitely worth a pat on the back and a chocolate digestive.

The downside of not going in is that I now have to wait another week before returning to the Columbia Road Market, with which I am officially smitten. It runs every Sunday and I went there the week before I headed up to Edinburgh. I found myself jumping into a place full to the brim with things to make me sigh and smile – beautiful flower stalls, lovely shops and galleries, sexy musos playing, smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels and a bottle of the most splendid dandelion and burdock. It had been a couple of years since I sampled that particular nectar and oh my, it was heavenly. And to cap it all off a there was a couple of minutes chat with a lovely and handsome man working at the Columbia Road Gallery. A magical land indeed!

There are a number of superb little shops along the road – mostly only open on weekends – all top quality, whether second hand or shiny and new. Rob Ryan’s shop, Ryantown, is there, nestled in with the rest, but it was a couple of the others, whose work I was entirely unfamiliar with, that captured me for the day.

Firstly, up an inviting staircase, there is Wingate, which has an array of t-shirts, tea towels, cushions, notebooks, notetags and more. Everything there is pretty simple and stylish, but cute too. Top of my wish list are the cushions featuring prints of the local pubs. The gift tags are gorgeous too, but truth be told they just had me thinking I want to try to make my own.

I had similar thoughts at Jessie Chorley & Buddug Humphreys – I’d like to try to make that! – although I have no doubt my efforts wouldn’t even come close to their range of pretty, handmade pieces, including jewelery and embellished vintage lovelies. It was the bunting in the window that first caught my eye (I’m a sucker for bunting), then the embroidered dress … Coming in there is like wondering into another world – a very pretty Dickensian world.

And the sexy musos? They’re The Bonfire Band … and I have a crush on each and every one of them. I bought their cd which has been on repeat ever since. You know how some music perfectly suits a season? Some – like, for me, Aretha Franklin – get played over and over in the summer while others – like Sinatra – are just made for winter and baking and red wine. Well The Bonfire Band are good for every season. Yes indeed. Go have a listen.

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