England, Musings, Travel

A visit to Portobello Market in London

On a last wander through this market, we meet a woman giving out small bouquets. This was not our last visit to this market or an encounter with a woman who was not all she made out to be.

What a wonderfully kind gesture to do, we thought. When there are so many other people creating havoc around London, as she handed me the bouquet, I accepted it with a smile and a thank you, then turned to carry on searching for that special something.

I was surprised by how her voice changed from a sophisticated one to a banshee from hell.

Whoa, Lady, where’s me money?”, of course, I replied in a startled voice. “Sorry, you gave me the bouquet, I did not want to buy it”, then she spoke of the Gypsy curse, “Your future and present children will curse you forever, and bad luck will plague you”. My reply to that absurdity was; “Well, I don’t have kids, and I am certainly over the hill to have them, and I don’t believe in luck so that you can have your flowers back and please don’t use that on some other poor soul, who may be superstitious, you horrid woman”.

Now there were two annoyed women, and, one, Squire with an amused look on his face.

Well, that made her flounce off in a huff. What she did not know is that I would have happily passed over her palm a few coins if she had asked politely and less aggressive. The moral of that story is careful of the person bearing gifts; it may not be what it seems. Especially one dressed as a gypsy with a basket of posies!

Now it is with great pleasure to regale a far more pleasant meeting with another woman at our next visit to the most significant antique market in London.

The meeting took place at the Portobello Market, in London, in October 2016.

“Good grief, surely that can’t be the Queen?” We looked at each other. Of course, it isn’t her. Though the woman with the turquoise jacket was here, we believe in celebrating the 150 years history of this market. A bit of a good sport to help out even though she is a year late.

She was a woman of few words and a contagious laugh, with a sense of humour that we got a hint of through that twinkle in her eye when she laughed. 

Squire and the Queen (1)_edited

8 thoughts on “A visit to Portobello Market in London”

  1. Mr Fletche is a lot more soft hearted than I and he has had to be trained into saying “No” 😃 I once turned my back for a minute in Paris only to find him attached by a piece of string to one of the African “bracelet men”…

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    1. Yes, our men folk are the big softies. Les finds it hard to say straight off “I’m not interested”, and I have forgotten how many times I have had to go back and stop a no win conversation of him trying to tell a stall holder he wasn’t interested. Though it is annoying I do like it that there are men out there who are big softies 🙂

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  2. You can find similar scams in NYC. I think it’s a tourist city phenomenon. I’ve experienced one firsthand: the broken bottle hustle. The skinny on this is a fellow bumps into you and drops a bottle, which shatters all over the sidewalk. He then demands money to compensate for his loss. Of course, the bottle was an empty refilled with water, and he bumped into you intentionally. Since tourists often have their heads in the clouds, it doesn’t seem implausible when they are told they are at fault. In my case, they incorrectly targeted a local, and I called scam from the jump. 😉

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  3. Yep. I liked that second market story better! 🙂

    Unfortunately, we have encountered these women bearing “gifts” as well, in several countries. Usually, they look like gypsies or older Chinese women. We never except anything (except in French Polynesia, where the inhabitants are extremely hospitable, and where we gladly return the favor), so we might miss out on small and generous gifts of locals, that are really gifts. Who could tell the difference??

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