Sunday, 18 November 2012

Stop and smell the flowers

Never give up
Columbia Stallholder
Cabbages and Kisses
cabbages, tulips and thistles
Columbia Road singers
snack time
street scene
pink flags
prickly flowers
never never
happy place

"They seemed to be hardly Railway children at all in those days, and as the days went on each had an uneasy feeling about this which Phyllis expressed one day. 
"I wonder if the Railway misses us," she said, plaintively. "We never go to see it now."
"It seems ungrateful," said Bobbie; "we loved it so when we hadn't anyone else to play with..." 
 The Railway Children, E Nesbit

 When I first moved to London I chose my student accommodation based on its proximity to Columbia Road Flower Market. It is one of my favourite places and in my first year I found myself there most Sunday mornings, smelling the flowers and listening to the stallholders calling out the prices of snapdragons and tulips.

If I'm honest though, one of the reasons I would go there was because I didn't have much else to do on a Sunday, or anyone to do it with. Leaving home for the first time was lonely. But instead of feeling lonely in my room I went out and explored. The flowers and coffee shops and markets were my company.

That was two years ago: I now feel lucky to have made lovely friends and to have a busy balance of seeing them and working on my final university project. But this morning I woke up and realised that it has been nearly a year since I visited Columbia Road.

Final year is hectic so technically I should probably have spent today working on my dissertation, but after spending a stressful Saturday at university I decided that flowers would be good for my soul.

I headed to Columbia Road with my camera and enjoyed a day of perfect loneliness. I ate cake alone and smiled at strangers and bought myself roses - because everyone deserves roses every now and then. It is lovely to have other people to make me happy (and even to buy roses for me) but it is also nice to spend days like these by myself, taking joy in the smell of the flowers. Friends make me very happy but it is good to remind myself that I can make me very happy too.

(Cake and roses help.)


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