So I called Jane about 10:30 and then she and Tarka came to pick me up on Frying Pan Alley, which I now call home. We drove over Southwark Bridge and made our way to Borough Markets. I am still mesmerized by the short drive over the Thames River and sitting in the front passenger seat of the car, which resides on the left hand side. Tarka finds this silly, as would I, given I am sure I look like a child in a candy shop while gawking at the architecture and views along the way.
So there we were getting groceries for supper that Jane was planning to prepare and I couldn’t help but compare this market to our typical family grocery trips to Fareway or HyVee at home. The food is fresh and the assortments range well beyond what any grocery store in Grinnell would be capable of. There are often samples at the various tables (fruits, veggies, Chinese, Fish, Cheese, Herbs) and Tarka and I set out to try any sample available on the whole block. I had been there before but I really don’t think it is possible to see all of a particular market on one trip there. On top of that, there is not structure to the organization – the result seems a lot like a maze and slightly different each time I go. We started off at this beauty shop while we waited for Jane to park the car. Tarka and I used nearly all of the testers there. Mostly skin lotions, hand lotions, eye wrinkle care, some make-up and more. He chose some green eye shadow to have put on me and I quite liked his pick!
Tarka kept the conversation flowing wonderfully! He told me of some of his relatives from Levanston?? Not sure on the spelling. You can tell he is very fond of them and visiting there. We discussed the skinned rabbits in the windows and pheasants hanging from the ceiling hooks. He persuaded me into getting some pomegranates and figs, Tarka was amazed at the fact that I had not tried either. Jane also took some photos and said she would try to send some of them to me, hope she does! I saw my first quail and ostrich eggs and thene also got some hazel nut pralines that I tried and loved. In the sweets section, we got some of the Turkish Delight that I had seen the first time I came to this market and considered getting – Tarks and I had some right away and I must agree with him that they are beyond any treats at home. Tarks and I then decided we were gonna try some random things, like mushroom paste which we both detested, some cheese and licorice roots. I tried my first olives too and they were not as bad as I had imagined.
For a late lunch we got some Caribbean curry with rice and I absolutely loved it, it was at Tarka’s recommendation and he succeeded in picking well! On the drive home we took a few detours so Jane could show me parts of London. For a while we drove along the Thames River, where the lawyers are, and we drove past where Jane works and where most of her clients live. Tarka would point out the nicer homes versus the terrible and government owned flats. We drove past Tarka’s old school and down High street as well. It was a good little tour from the point of view of some true Londoners :). I must remind myself how lucky I am to get to experience London in this way with my family as opposed to only as an international student.
When we got back, we joined Guy and Jos in watching some funny videos and I enjoyed having a good laugh. Jane started cooking the Venison Stew; deer that she had bought at Borough earlier. I helped with the potatoes and then emptied the dishwasher as well. It was nice to be of help around the kitchen and get to do it with Jane. She cooks a little like Grandma and explains things as she is doing them without really knowing. She made some Leaf Stew as well and described using Wine with her recipes. This is something I don’t much think about but she does it all with such ease, again a great cook. Then the boys got a little rowdy and I took them out to the back to play some football. We did that for an hour or so until it was time to go eat supper.
For supper, Jane’s friend Catherine was coming with her husband and three children on their way back from Greece to Edinburgh. When they arrived, the kitchen and dining area got quite crowded but only made me feel more at home. So Cath and her kids got there around 7 or 8. They are Scottish and their kids are Lily, 11, Anne?, 10 and George Henry Arthur, 6. He told me his whole name, he was absolutely adorable beyond belief! They were shy at first but opened up quickly – the same was as with the little ones at home on family holidays. They only stayed up for about a half hour and went straight to bed from being tired after a full day’s travel. Lily stayed up a little while longer and told Guy, Tarka and I some stories from her school at home.
Shortly after I had supper with Jane, Jos, Cath and her husband whose name escapes me at the moment. Cath and Jane trained together and she is now a surgeon moved into a more governmental position. It was really interesting just listening to all of their stories. They discussed a lot concerning the government and recent news. I was happy in that their mentioning the big rail line’s contract, with Virgin, was having a big scandal and one of the politicians using the word ‘pleb’ were both things we had discussed in class so I wasn’t out of the loop on any of the conversation. They also told some surgeon stories. Jane kept me up to date on anything that wasn’t relevant to me – she has been so great to me. Cath is going to Miami next week to learn some new techniques or information, essentially for meetings she says. They then started comparing the US and UK health care programs, the NHS versus Medicade. This was interesting too, I was never bored throughout the meal! I left around 11:30 or so and took the tube back from Holloway Road Station.
Today, Sunday, I just worked out on the 35th floor of Nido (where I can see St. Paul, the Gerkin and Tower Bridge from my Treadmill) and am trying to get my postcards out tomorrow. Preseason for Knox Women’s Basketball begins tomorrow and I was a little homesick thinking about not being there with them, this lasted only a while though :). The girls that were gone all got back from Ireland around 5 and we went out to eat. I just tagged along to hear stories and they said Dublin was fun but loved Cork much better by far (so did I personally), just because of the general atmosphere of the town. Their stories were wonderful. I’ve just got back to the room to do some homework and there are now fireworks somewhere near Brick Lane going off in the sky. A very pretty sight and a wonderful way to end the weekend – but I am going to make another pot of tea! Love to all!