Wednesday, 24 January 2018
To Market, to market
Market day on Thursday has been the highlight of my week for many years. It seems like a coppice in a wood. A pause in the week to enjoy the party atmosphere of the market. A moment to step into a parallel world.
The stall holders have been up since dawn, displaying their goods so they will appeal and attract attention.
My route to the market takes me over a river. The bridge over the river is called 'The bridge of Angels.' the angel is on the top of a tall column, I always look up at her, up there guarding us.
I usually go to the market mid-morning so might meet friends and neighbours on the bridge, on their way home, carrying their bounty in colourful bags brimming over with vegetables and plants.
After catching up on various bits of news and announcements I turn into the market square and it never ceases to lift my heart. The beautiful majestic buildings set against the bright blue sky, because of course I wouldn't go if it was raining, the hustle and bustle of the shoppers and the strong enticing aroma of coffee from the bars around the square.
Years ago, there would have been a crowd of old men from the country, greeting each other and talking about football and politics in the local dialect. Today there are mainly women, of many nationalities. Snippets of conversation are carried on the air, in Russian, Arabic, Romanian.
All the women are united in a quest, to find a bargain, a pretty dress for a small daughter, a hardwearing tracksuit for a boisterous little boy, a jacket for the new season, a handbag in a bright colour to cheer the winter days.
Every so often there are splashes of vibrant colour from the flower stalls. A patchwork of dazzling hues of primulas, hyacinths, daffodils.
This is where I stop.
As soon as I show interest I receive a smile and an invitation to buy.
I am soon holding a bag full of primulas to scatter colour through the late winter days.. If I have arranged to meet a friend we will sit in the sun with our cappuccinos and show each other our purchases. I might be tempted to go and buy the same jumper or dress as my friend but in a different colour. The market is all about sharing.
The Thursday market is a joyful, harmonious meeting place for the women of the town. Shopping, browsing, chatting, drinking coffee, and not feeling guilty at all because after all it is only there on Thursday mornings.