I love markets. At work, I spend all day under artificial lighting, staring at a screen and unaware of the light and weather of the day. I don't want to do much the same in Coles on the weekends. Looking at lettuce and grapes under trees, in the sun, with people milling and chatting, is my idea of how our food should be got. There's a sense of possibility, of perhaps stumbling across something lovely and unexpected, in the markets, and that's something absent from the trudge through the aisles at Coles (and only imperfectly experienced at our lovely Olde Greengrocer who gives us stuff for free).
Nell and I went to the West End markets today. They are down by the river, under old Moreton Bay fig trees. There's lots of produce (though not, of course, all very local or organic), a few stores selling old clothes and some Indian tat, and the hippy coffee sellers, who provided me with some cardamon coffee (which I almost liked, I think the cardamon was a little too strong) and a baby latte and scone for Nell.
While Nell stumbled and gobbled and won hearts and minds, I got to watch the people go by: urban hipsters in their distressed and ironic retro Ts; toned middle class mammas who like their family's eating to be authentic; neo-hippies in tie-dye and fisherman's pants; retirees in navy hats. But the one thing these groups had in common (and this shocked me to the core) was their use of those once super-daggy vinyl bins on wheels, to cart home all that right-on produce. These are the wheelie baskets once favoured by old ladies in shopping centres. No more Oxfam baskets or the free green bags from supermarkets; it's bowling lady chic all the way. And I don't even think their use was post-modern or tongue-in-cheek or self-referential or ironic or any of the other stances that have allowed us all the embrace the un-embracable.
I fear I am losing my touch with style.