Christmas on Columbia Road

One of the things I used to love doing when I lived in London was spending my Sunday mornings wandering (make that squeezing my way) up and down Columbia Road during the flower market, to peruse beautiful fresh blooms, foliage, cacti and a variety of potted plants and herbs. As I was back in the Big Smoke last week, I thought it was high time I paid an overdue visit. It being the second weekend before Christmas, the place had been transformed into a winter wonderland, with Christmas trees everywhere. I knew it might be festive, but not quite the explosion of forrest greens, berry reds and golds it was - luckily I brought my camera.

I haven't been in two years - so long that I arranged to meet a friend at a cafe that no longer existed. Luckily we managed to find each other in amongst the crowds. If you've been you'll know what I'm talking about, but for the uninitiated, it's quite an experience to find yourself pulled into the steadily moving traffic of bodies as they drift up the street, momentarily stopping to admire a flower or to purchase a bunch, in between the loud hawking noises of the stall vendors ("TULIPS!! - 2 BUNCHES FOR A FIVER!"). It's almost meditative to get swept along by the current, as the throng of locals, tourists, pets, children and buggies push you through the most congested part of the street and out the other side, where you can suddenly breath with ease again. I went through twice to try and capture what I could, after grabbing a tea and a warm pain au chocolat (as if I don't get enough of those..), with my friend in a makeshift cafe, which looked like it had been set up in an old garage. Despite the doors being open, the light was streaming in (hence I had to snap Gemma's sun-drenched hands clutching her warm mug), so we stayed wrapped in our coats, perched on a couple of stools and caught up, whilst watching the world, as well as purchased Christmas trees, go by.