Saturday, January 06, 2018

My neighbourhood market

This morning it's grey and bitter cold. Hovering around zero, my computer says, and my hands and feet say it too.

But I go to the market anyway, as I do every week I'm home. And I buy my fruit and my veg and my bread and my cheese and maybe a bit of smoked fish and something delicious from whatever stall has come. Sometimes from South America, or from Africa, or Greece.

And the food costs more, no doubt, but it's better, and I appreciate being able to buy fresh food and know it's not going to poison me.

The man in the veg stall has just come back from 5 months cycling round Europe, and he greets me like a long lost friend. And that is a pleasure, that we know each a little in this market, and are part of a community. And I feel so very lucky that it happens so close to my own front door.

When I get back I warm myself with a cup of hibiscus tea that a dear friend brought back to me from the Mercado Central in Belo Horizonte in Brasil.

That is a truly wondrous place. I've never seen such an incredible array of fruit, or vegetables, or meat, or fish. There's a stall entirely devoted to different kinds of chilli peppers; and at least a couple of herbalists. So much apparent abundance...

And I wish we still had a covered market in Edinburgh, or here in Leith.

Of course it was the cold logic of the Market that destroyed such places. But I like it that our little Leith market still exists on the Fringe of things, and that even on a cold day like this people still come to it.

I guess that one thing that draws us is a collective memory we're mostly unaware of. Of all the millennia when  markets met the needs of producers to sell their wares and of customers to buy them.

A time when the market actually met human needs instead of ignoring them
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