The last time I went to Columbia Road Flower Market, about 15 years ago, I knew nothing about plants and had a hangover. This time around I knew a bit more about plants and didn’t have a hangover. Maybe that’s what’s called progress.
The market has never really been on my radar because I thought you had to get there early, and I’m not a morning person. I’ve also never fancied the crowds and assumed the plants are overpriced for urbanites who don’t know what they’re buying. But I was wrong. The stalls were still going strong at 2.30pm, the crowds weren’t unbearable and there was a great selection of cheap, good quality plants (eg 25 quid for two big box balls).
And… it was really good fun. There were some cockney geezers, Hoxton trendies, middle class types with their giant buggies, salmon and cream cheese bagels, mugs of tea, mulled wine and more vintage knick knacks than you could shake a stick at. A bloke was selling orchids that he said were stolen from Marks & Spencer (‘It doesn’t matter, all the prisons are full!… You’re not a copper are you?’). Oh, and a man in a fox mask was doing some embroidery on a window ledge. Sometimes I really love London.