Sunday, 19 April 2015

Glorious Greenwich

I’ve blogged about Greenwich before but, you know what?  It’s such a great place I’m going to write about it again.  Now that the Spring weather has put in a few appearances, Mr V is more receptive for weekend outings.  I love Greenwich for its beautiful expanse of park nestling by the River Thames, whereas my husband loves Greenwich for its numerous coffee shops.  So on the recent Easter Sunday, we took a jaunt to Greenwich to dovetail a brisk walk in the sunshine with a coffee stop or three.
          ‘Don’t be surprised if nothing is open,’ I said to my husband.
          ‘What gives you that idea?
          ‘Well, it’s Easter Sunday.  A holy day.  The supermarket and local shops are closed, so I’m assuming the coffee shops will be shut and the entire place deserted.’
          I couldn’t have been more wrong.  In fact, I’ve never known the park to be heaving with so many people…families out strolling, dogs rushing up to other dogs to engage in ritualistic bottom sniffing, kids on trikes and bikes, teens on scooters and skateboards, couples on rollerblades, granddads and grandmas sitting on benches, picnickers sprawled on blankets, and optimistic sunbathers baring milky limbs to a watery lemon sun.
          Walking through the park took time due to the unbelievable volume of people. As we finally exited through the park’s south gates, we found ourselves caught up in a human tidal wave that swept us down a side street and over a pelican crossing.  We managed to break away by the Cutty Sark.  The historical clipper ship was very much open for business and doing a roaring trade.  Alongside, a bustling market was in full swing.  All manner of nationalities were manning stalls heaving with international cuisine and locally sourced produce.  Ducking down alleyways we checked out numerous antique markets and then, down another narrow cobbled street, the indoor market.  Gaily covered tables loaded with arts and crafts greeted us before merging into yet more food stalls catering for every taste.  The dishes were all sorts – from exotic curries to strange and colourful gluten-free veggie dishes for awkward people like me.
          Walking along scoffing spiced lentils, brown rice, red raw cabbage and a mash of beans was exhilarating…mainly because my husband, a die-hard meat eater, had no inclination to help me out (his words…I prefer to call it swiping).  I can’t tell you how many times, in a restaurant, Mr V polishes his meal off in six seconds flat only to then start on my dinner.  And don’t get me on to the subject of desserts.  When I first met my husband, he categorically told me he wasn’t a pudding person.  For me, pudding is the highlight of a meal.  Bring it on!  Chocolate goo, treacle sponges, anything with custard – oh yeah baby, let me at it!  On our first restaurant date I was slightly taken aback when Mr V’s spoon crossed the gap between us and found its way into my Eton Mess.
          ‘Just having a taste,’ he smiled winningly.
          This was followed by his spoon whizzing backwards and forwards like a speeded-up film.  Back then I was a little more tolerant.  These days I growl like a guard dog.
          ‘BACK OFF, MATEY.  Put your hands IN THE AIR and walk slowly away from the apple crumble.’
          Anyway, I digress.  Greenwich Park, and my vegan dinner, was a sunny
Sunday afternoon delight.  Which reminds me.
A troop of French Foreign Legionaries were marching through the desert. After marching for days, their water supply ran out and they were on the brink of collapse. Then suddenly, as they staggered over the crest of a large sand dune, they came upon a wonderful sight – a market place full of colourful stalls with banners flapping in the breeze.  The legionaries were delighted and ran towards the market. At the first stall, they begged for water. ‘Sorry,’ said the stall-holder, ‘but all I have are my delicious puddings made with jelly, sponge, a cream topping and sprinkled with hundreds and thousands.’ Undeterred, the troops moved on to the next stall, again pleading for water. ‘Sorry, but I only have puddings made with jelly, sponge, a cream topping and sprinkled with hundreds and thousands.’ The legionaries moved on to the next stall, and got the same answer. They soon realised every stall had the same thing.  Finally, one of the stall-holders took pity on them. ‘There is an oasis not far away,’ he said, and pointed them in the right direction. Gasping, the legionaries set off for the oasis. As they were leaving, one of the legionaries turned to the others and said, ‘What a peculiar experience.’ ‘Hmm,’ said another, ‘definitely a trifle bazaar…’


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