13 July 2012

Travel tales: Borough Market, the best pork pie in the world and when fashion triumphs culture

Today I had a mission. Wake up relativey early and actually get out of bed soon after. Pack up some things to post home. Find Sooty and Sweep bears. Go to Borough Market and eat lots of goodness. Go to Tate Modern. Buy some gifts. Do some retail therapy for me. Cook dinner. Collapse at home. Missions accomplished.

I met a dog on the train to London Bridge. He was called Charlie and his human Dad said he was a labrador crossed with a rug. Charlie is 10 months old and very inquisitive and energetic. This is the best picture I got of him as he was not very still.
I found my way to Borough Market from London Bridge train station. It is set in some old buildings near the wharf. Initially I found the market offputting because of the noise from the flurry of construction workers around and within. But the noise soon gave way to to the exciting atmosphere of people enjoying food.
There were stalls of fresh produce including cheese, meats (lots of game), fruit and vegetables and also cooked meals. There was a cooking demonstration that happens every Thursday and today's theme was French. The woman in the picture cooked Coquavin.

There was a huge array of cheeses and I tried many and bought two pieces of relatively stinky stuff. I also bought some potted wild boar and olives stuffed with garlic and olives marinated in orange, thyme and rosemary.
I found the perfect pork pie ever. It was from The Ginger Pig. The one I chose was called The Huntsman - filled with wild boar (there is a theme and no i won't become a pig hunter) and a stuffing of chicken, sage, onions and cranberry sauce. So.Damn.Delicious.
As I queued for my pork pie, a group of school children were on an excursion - they all wore hi-vis vests - so cute! Some of them stared and then a few asked me what is on with my face. I told them, mentioned diversity, and showed them my cream. They and their teacher were grareful for my time and I was proud of how I handled the questions from the large group.

I had a picnic type lunch - cheese, olives, the pork pie, two oysters - raw with lemon, and a pineapple, mint, mango and pear juice.
There was a bright piano at the market, free for anyone to use. I saw people playing it and the crowd stopped to clap. It was lovely. The piano was part of the City of London Festival, coinciding with the Olympics. Down on the wharf there was another piano and three little girls played it.
After lunch I took a walk down the bank of the Thames and admired the view. It was the warmest day I have had here - maybe late teens?

There was this phone box on the banks of the Thames. A lot of people were taking photos of this.
I walked a very long way to the Tate Modern art gallery. I was excited as I had heard good things about it. But I got there and was not feeling it. It was a combination of heavy bags, a snuffly nose and swarms of school children. Plus the gift shop was not great - and that is a measure of a good gallery for me!

I decided that it was time for retail therapy. First stop was Liberty, recommended to me by Maggie Alderson and Faux Fuchsia. Loved it, and if I was a better housekeeper, I could have spent up big for myself. Instead I dabbled in the potential for good housekeeping by buying a tea towel. I purchased some gifts for my hosts as I will be leaving here this Saturday and some gifts for friends back home. The sales assistant was trying to explain VAT but I did not understand.
After Liberty I walked down Carnaby Street and thought about Twiggy and Dedicated Follower of Fashion. There were giant things hanging in the street - a world globe and a sequin flag.
Then I went to TopShop. Wow! I had only been to Melbourne's TopShop once - it opened on my birthday coincidentally - and didn't understand the fuss. But I loved the Oxford Street store! Massive! There was even a cupcake bar! The sales racks were amazing and I would love to go back. My haul was a duck egg blue maxi dress, a silvery soft jacket and a star print dress with a Peter Pan collar - my purchases matched all of my fashion loves!

I can unashamedly say that this time, I was more inspired by the sales racks in TopShop ams the Liberty Prints than a cultural art gallery. As I told the kids at the markets - when asked why I was born with a red face - sometimes that is just the way things are. If I love shopping more than a prestigious gallery today, then that is ok.
When I got home i cooked dinner. This is a pasta bake of lamb, ravioli, leftover roast vegie soup, broccoli, sweet potato, capsicum, tomato and mushrooms, plus three cheeses. Yum!
Once again I am tired after a long day of walking. It has cooled down considerably now and I know I will sleep well.


  1. What fun!

    London is looking fabulous.

    SSG xxx

  2. Wow...I am getting so much enjoyment with these posts Carly! The shots are amazing. I love how you are capturing all aspects. So great to be sharing your travels. I am predicting 2 things for you:
    1. Work will become available to you in your field of interest & will be combined with further study
    2. This will take place in England.
    Am I thinking correctly?
    Denyse x

  3. Glad you luffed Liberty and are having tonnes of fun! Love all your travel snaps x

  4. Oh my this is making me miss London so much. Spent a lot (A LOT) of time at the Borough Market - so many good things to eat!

  5. Ohhh, we have those pianos here in Toronto at the moment, for the build up to the Pan Am Games, which I had never heard of!

    Don't feel bad about your impression about Tate Modern...to be honest, I only went there with an exhibition I wanted to see in mind, and then saw the rest, not just going for the gallery's usual display....and sometimes you just have to shop! Ha! The shops in London felt like a gallery in itself at times in London, so much going on, such great variety and range...

    Loving your London explores narrative, and your photos!

  6. Ah, maybe I missed this last year - we were travelling too. I adore Liberty. With two small children in tow I haven't ventured in since the lad came along. I miss it. When we went to Tate Modern we only went to the cafe and the shop. We loved the shop, maybe because it had a lot of great kids stuff (do you see a theme with our travels). Thanks for transporting me back to London again through your post!


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