Tomorrow is Saturday, and it's a mere week since I went to Portobello Road and, although its famous antiques market is nowhere near what it was, I yearn to be able to go again today. My love of Portobello goes back to the early 1960s, when I was 10 years old and living in London. Portobello Road's bustling weekly market was just a few minutes walk away, so many a Saturday I would go along with my mother. In those days, the tables in the center of the road were bedecked with silver teasets and trays, and GBP1 was the going rate for Victorian silver. I bought my first little piece of pottery then, a ghastly thing that later made it to the local charity shop...but I caught the antiques bug on Portobello Road.
Each time I go to the UK, I must go back to Portobello. It is a welcoming constant in a life that has tossed me across continents. I am there at 7 as I love the sleepy feeling as the market opens and the dealers grumble about how bad trade is. And I am out by 9, as the tourists descend, intent on buying a kitsch souvenir. Lately, there are fewer stalls and many do not open early, or at all...but still I must go. I am genetically programmed.
Last week, my routine changed. I had my friend Lisa with me, and she is not programmed for 7 a.m. appearances on Portobello. So we arrived at 8:30. For once, the routine was different and we had a slow meander, looking at a myriad things. I bought birthdays and wedding gifts--no, not from those yukky tables outside. Of course, it rained, and rained, and rained; it was freezing outside and hot inside; there were tons of tourists; and part of the road was closed because of a gas leak---all this made for soggy discomfort, but Lisa and I had a blast and wouldn't have missed it for anything.
So tomorrow is Saturday again, and what will I do in my Portobello-less world on this side of the Atlantic? Why, I will get up at 6 a.m. again, to look at Andrew Dando's Exhibition, which comes on line at that magic hour! (See details under events.)