Columbia Road Flower Market is a part of my life in London as much as, say, riding the tube, or walking on Hampstead Heath. I lived not far away (off Vallance Road in Bethnal Green) in my second year in London and, try as I might, I cannot remember my first visit, only that I have been going there regularly for years now.
Whilst I frequent Nine Elms in Vauxhall – the new Covent Garden Flower Market – for professional floral jobs, sometimes I just want a couple of bunches of Narcissi, or ten fat roses for a fiver, as opposed to a wrap of five bunches + VAT, and that is where Columbia Road Market comes in handy.
I usually go on my own, hopping in the tin can motor first thing for the twenty minute drive East. But one of my New Year’s resolutions was to stop pandering to my instinctive solitude – it just doesn’t occur to me to ask people to do things with me, partly from desire, I think, and partly through habit, because I have been single for a long time.
So I asked Chloe to join me, and we had a lovely time wandering down the road: it’s very quiet at the moment, as a many of the traders are on holiday, and the pre-Christmas claustrophobic crush has all but disappeared.
We poked around the shops that line the market, and resisted the siren song of the sweeties in Suck & Chew.
I caught sight of a puppy I wanted to photograph and, just as I was about to ask its owner if I could say hello, he looked up, and it was Adam Reed, possibly one of London’s loveliest men, with his new rescue pup Leika. (Adam’s latest Percy & Reed salon is not far away, just by the Hawksmoor Church in Spitalfields.)
After some puppy love, Chloe and I headed off to Shoreditch House for brunch and conversation.
I was home by 1230, and spent the rest of the day editing photographs and continuing my office clear out. Eight bin bags, and some happy finding of mislaid stuff later, I finally hit my pillow at 4am. A very constructive day, and a testament to the strength of Soho House Americanos.