Wednesday, 29 December 2010
When I was a young girl my Mother and Aunt and I caught the bus every Saturday into a local town to visit the market. In England, 'the market' isn't a shop or a shopping mall, it's numerous stalls with canvas awnings, full of produce either neatly laid out or haphazardly lying in heaps. Over-riding all in my memory are the sounds and smells, and how hardy the market-people were to 'stand the stalls' in sleeting rain and biting snow or ice. Raucous calls to buy chickens and eggs rang out in dialect, rising into the air with their breath, and always there were fragrant odours from the fresh beetroot stall, where earthy glowing-wine coloured globes would glisten and shine whatever the weather. Roughly wrapped into newspaper still bearing their frondy tops dusty with soil, 'Ready to boil, fresh from the earth this morning.' a swarthy vendor with purple stained hands, would shout. I did love the smell of it! But I was only interested in a small stall right at the rear of the food, hidden away next to the bus-depot was the second-hand book stall. I would leave my Aunt and Mother buying cones from the ice-cream van because Saturday was my 'Spends day' and numerous old musty books of poetry and fairy-tales would come home with me to be dusted and polished, poured over, read aloud and cherished.