Sunday, November 15, 2015

The Pleasures of the Market

[Not another heavy piece about economics is it? It's years since you studied it, you know: Ed]
Actually, no. This is about a real market, the craft and foodie market that graces beautiful Ruislip once a month, held in the medieval surroundings of the Great Barn. Today will be one of the main events of the year with only one more fair before Xmas. It was held yesterday as well but the rain and murk kept us away. Sadly, the awful weather blighted another key event of the local calendar, the switching on of the Xmas lights as part of Ruislip Manor Fun Day (but given that this event was relegated to a rather tawdry set of stalls in a car park, compared to taking up the whole of the shopping area of Victoria Road in recent years, it was a bit of a damp squib anyway). Today the skies have cleared, the airs are mild and the breezes light so we will make the effort.

Despite the enormous range of goods in supermarkets, there are always things at the craft market that are different. A lot of stuff is made locally, by the people who turn up every month to sell it. If you want to know what's in the jar, you have only to ask. There's specialist olive oils, buffalo meat, real Arbroath smokies, fresh cakes, whole ciabattas and sourdoughs, tasty and well-filled meat pies, cheeses from nearby farms, any amount of chutneys and sauces and plenty besides [Enough, it's a long time till lunch: Ed]. 

We don't buy a huge amount but it's always nice to mill around, inhale the aromas from the paella stalls and hog roasts and nibble the odd freebie. There is no road traffic to disrupt the free flow of people and no music blaring at us. There are almost no branded goods on display. The greetings cards, the knitware, the pottery and the candles are all made by the stallholders. Ruislip ceased to be a village a century ago but on market days - and in some sense on Rembrance Sunday - it reverts to feeling a bit like one.

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