Nevertheless I am continually with You; You have taken hold of my right hand.
My bread went moldy yesterday, so today I went to the regular grocery store, the organic grocery store, and a bakery for my food. For breakfast I ate THE most delicious pastry of my entire life, craftsman made, and it only cost 70p. THE BEST, and I have no idea what it’s called. I also cashed in another £50 traveler’s check, but only got £47 for it because of the stupid fees. I needed cash because one of the group members and I made our slow way to a place called Portobello Road, a market that a random shopowner had recommended to us. I say slow because the major tube line near IES, the Circle and District lines, were closed for repairs. We had to take three tubes to get there, and so did everybody else. One tube station currently serves the whole area, and it’s insanely busy.
But Portobello Road was great. Chaos; thick crowds; tons of vendors selling antiques and junk. We slowly wended our way through the crowds in arcades jammed with tiny stalls, their proprietors, whose average age hovered around 70, squeezed in as an afterthought. We saw old books from the 1700’s and more Victorian silverware than should still exist. We heard two street singers trying to sing but really just shouting loudly. We saw a lady who wanted money solely for displaying four small dogs. Actually many shop owners had dogs along too, and all behaved amazingly well. We found food vendors selling strawberries for £1.50 for two containers, while they were £3 for two at the grocery store (I bought two). A little later I also purchased a bag of nuts and a bag of yogurt-covered fruit to make into a trail mix that’s in the offing…although they don’t have Chex here. We smelled lots of good food and lots of cigarette smoke. We saw all sorts of incredibly shiny silver, lots of old prints of things, numerous quasi-old books (I wanted to buy gorgeous leather-bound, glit-paged copy of Don Quixote for Mom, but it was way out of my price range), saw lots and lots of people. We saw old gear for locating yourself by the stars on the ocean and old gramophone needles. We saw convex mirrors and statuettes, we saw an entire booth of dead preserved animals (no pictures at that one, sadly). I could spend two hours describing everything we saw and would barely touch on it. After much seraching I found the perfect present for Ian and a nice one for Deborah there, too, but I won’t mention what they are here. Chris got a cool pewter whiskey flask engraved with a shamrock circled by a Celtic knot. I looked at fountain pens and knives, but I think I’d prefer to buy those new if I do buy either of those here. Some things are good antique, others…what’s the point?
When I we got back, through the mobs in the tube stations, I ate a delicious linner of freshly sliced strawberries and bananas in plain yogurt complimented by a bagel and cream cheese. Have I mentioned how wonderful the yogurt is here? Not stiff and chunky like at home, the yogurt here flows so you could literally pour it out of the container. It tastes wonderful, with a little bit of a bite because it’s plain, and there’s nothing like fresh fruit in that. I sat in the kitchen in the sun slowly savoring my linner and reading No Logo (I read about 1 page a week here) and enjoying the slightly-tired feeling of having walked for four hours. I may go to Battersea Park, which is within walking distance and therefore does not require riding the insanely packed tubes, to read some more No Logo.
Just now I checked my email and read this in an email from our advisor:
I will be going to Brompton Oratory tomorrow (Sunday) for the the 11am HIGH LATIN MASS (will make Westminster look like a Unitarian BBQ).
Should I go? I know I’d be confused the whole time since I don’t know any Latin (carpe diem?) but it could be an interesting experience all the same. I’m certainly getting my fill of high church and tradition on this trip! But anyway, Portobello Road was really cool and I can hardly wait to hit up more street markets of that sort: cheap, fun, exceedingly interesting just to walk around in. This is an amazing part of the city life you never get in Worcester. Too great!