Road Flower Market
Columbia Road e5
Sunday morning only.
My favourite place is ephemeral. It comes into being on Sunday mornings, at the moment the trucks wake me up delivering their goods. It begins to disintegrate after 2:30 p.m., when what produce remains is trundled back into vans by people shouting in Cockney accents, or is bought cheaply, surreptitiously, and illegally by locals like me. I speak of that oldest and most famous ﬂower market-Columbia Road. Every Sunday morning, my studio (thirty seconds' walk from the ﬂorabundal epicentre) is garlanded with kangaroo paw, lilies, parrot tulips, tuberose-proof that nature still exists somewhere, even during a London winter. The market provides many subsidiary attractions. For example, when the English buy bedding plants, they cheer up, and sometimes smile at complete strangers. Once, on a Sunday morning, I was practising my piano with the French doors open. A ﬂower-buying crowd gathered on the street below and started clapping. The delight of Sunday mornings compensates for East End Sunday afternoons.
Robyn Davidson has had homes in Sydney, London, and the Indian Himalayas. Her books include Tracks, winner of the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, and Desert Places, shortlisted for the same prize.