Awakened at 4 a.m. by one pesky mosquito and the gull clan discussing their day’s coming activities, I get up and walk into the moonlight-flooded kitchen. The glow of the now waning super moon flooded our small garden with its light. I thought of my crystal amulet charged by moon power and the pervasive use of moon imagery in our language. Moon rise, moon light, moon scape, moon shine, lunatic. Menses, menopause, menstrual, menstruate. Lunar rover, lunar scape, tidal ebb and flow, wax and wane, and so on. Our language recognizes the real and poetical power the moon has over us. Its beauty is softer and more enchanting than the sun’s. We must seek the moon in the dark, and wait for her as she passes through her cycle and slowly turns to show us her full face–fleetingly. What has this to do with Portobello, you ask. Nothing really, just what arises (ha!) when you’re up at 4 a.m.
A few hours later we were on our way to Notting Gate stop on the tube. We got to Notting Hill about 9:15 and trailed along with the already substantial numbers of folks who like we hoped to find a treasure or two on old Portobello Road. People have been gathering here probably for hundreds of years buying and selling. We too will pay our due to the merchant dealers and do the dance of trade and exchange.
There are two rows of dealers which line the road. About half are selling food and non-antique items. On either side of the street there are permanent shops, cafes, grocers and so on which operate daily. The street vendors are there only on the weekend.
It was warm and going to get really hot. No rain predicted. By the time we left around noon, the road and sidewalks were nearly impassible. Do come early! And by the way, there is one (1) portapotty in the entire area.
Ken spied some wonderful old documents–1800’s–handwritten on vellum. Several are last wills and testaments. One being the Probate of the Will and Codicil of Henry Raymond Arundell Esq deceased Dated 18th June 1886. The handwriting is absolutely beautiful, clear and perfect. They are in very good condition with lots of stamps and signatures. He bought several similar documents. Later he spied a nice tintype of a couple–the gentleman’s watch chain and fob are highlighted in gold paint– and two other pretty handwritten pieces with lovely decoupaged decoration at the top.
I had reached my physical and tolerance limit by noon. I did buy two spinach boreks and a tomato pie to take home for dinner. We headed down one of the pretty side streets eventually coming to a wonderful, very trendy and spendy area with gourmet food shops and restaurants as well as numerous fashion forward boutiques for folks with lots of money. We decided to treat ourselves to lunch at 202 where there were toilets and chairs–items highest on my list at the moment! I ordered a Greek salad with grilled haloumi cheese and iced tea. Both items turned out to be the best things I have ever tasted. Ken ordered a lamb burger which was also very good and a hand squeezed lemonade. The lunch cost about $50 which included a 12% tip built into the charge. All things considered well worth the price of admission! We tubed home and collapsed coming to around 7 just in time for dinner and bed! So far I’m still waiting for the vacation part of this trip!
A quick post note: The next morning Ken discovered in his side bag a handful of paper clips some being of English origin none belonging to Ken. We speculate that a pick pocket left a benign calling card. Ken keeps his wallet elsewhere. Could this be a message like those chalked on fences by hobos indicating a “good home to ask for food” or “run like hell.” Who knows?