Book fair/Southwark/Portobello BY MYSELF!

London Travel Blog

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The sunny view of the Embankment by the London Eye.
Today I decided to quit being a baby and go into the city on my own. Because I usually have a male escourt (interpret that as you wish... you know, Zach, Josh, Big Dave, Mr. Cavaille, etc...) going into a big city with me, I don't have to worry about all the partiarchal-society-esque conerns that I'm probably supposed to have. I guess those things aren't real during the day anyhow, because I had absolutely nothing to worry about. Hanging out in the city by myself was kind of nice, actually, because I didn't have to worry about where everyone else wanted to go, or making sure everyone was having fun, or trying to think of something interesting to say to make people like me. It was very freeing.

When a few of us were in Cecil Court the other day, I saw this flyer for a "Performing Arts Book and Ephemera Fair" that sounded pretty cool, and it only happens two days out of the year, one of which happened to be today, also, the sun had decided to come back out, so it was a perfect day for exploring.
A PIRATE! There were a whole bunch of those "Hey, I'm pretty much like a statue" people around here. They all had their eyes closed...?
I got off the tube at Waterloo and walked to the Thames. Somebody British told me that since it rains so much, when the sun comes out, so does everyone who lives in England. This was definitely true, because as I accidentally walked a ways away from where I was trying to go, I saw a WHOLE bunch of people, mostly families out and about enjoying the sunshine. There were a lot of tourists around here, also, because it's right by the London Eye. It was happy, though, seeing everyone smiling, enjoying each other's company. Once I figured out where I was supposed to go, I turned around and found the Royal National Theatre, which is where the fair was being held. I climed a few flights of stairs, and came into this theater foyer with a bunch of little stalls of awesome stuff.
The book (and ephemera) fair in the Olivier Foyer of the Royal National Theatre. P.S. I am sick of spelling theater "theatre."
... everything was old, and relating to theater or film somehow... old programs and playbills, old postcards, old production stills, signatures, really really old books.... that was the coolest part, I think. I don't know why I get such a kick out of old books... I wanted to buy some of them just because they are old, but they were expensive. They a lot of books and newpaper clippings from the 30's, and some of the books were printed in the 1800's. RIDICULOUS! I was giddy. I almost bought something, but then I realized how expensive everything was, and what the heck would I do with some really old fragile stuff in my suitcase, and then I looked around me and saw that I was the only person in the room under 50. I listened in on some of the older gentlemen's conversations and it seemed like most of them were collectors of some sort. So, feeling poor, I went and sat on the floor downstairs, where there was some guy playing the grand piano in the lobby. There were a bunch of people sitting around hanging out, and I hung around for a little while trying to inconspicuously sort through my Lonely Planet London book, and eat my PB&J sandwich. It was very nice and relaxing, and made me miss hippies, and Santa Cruz. I realized I would much rather sit in a coffee shop all day and listen to someone play piano than run around shopping and buying expensive things.

After that I wandered around Southwark for a while. It's kind of nice to just walk around, even though the periodic cobblestone can make it challenging. On my way into uncertain grounds, I saw a Cornwall Pasty stand inside the tube station (Waterloo, again, I think?). People keeps telling me these are good, and they SO ARE! I bought a small one for only £1.50 and it was completely satisfying. Finally I have found the solution to a cheap lunch. Thank GOD. Then I walked around, tried to find Borough Market, got lost, didn't find it, got lost again, and went back to the tube station to go to Portobello Road.

Portobello wasn't as exciting as it was the first time I was there. I think it's better to go earlier in the day, because I didn't get there until 3:30 or 4, and a lot of people were leaving, and some of the stands were closing up for the day. I walked around trying to find presents for people, only to remember that the market is famous for antiques, otherwise known as a bunch of crap you don't need. The stuff is all really neat to look at, but I can't reason buying someone a magnifying glass, or a really old looking walking cane, or a set of silvery, engraved spoons. I just can't. I did buy myself a "MIND THE GAP" shirt though. I hadn't bought anything tourist-y yet, so I figured I'd get it out of the way before I had an opportunity to gross myself out with such tendencies. Next time I go to Portobello Road, I'm going to go to that cafe I keep seeing on the way out, and I'm going to sit there, and read a book.

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The sunny view of the Embankment b…
The sunny view of the Embankment …
A PIRATE! There were a whole bunch…
A PIRATE! There were a whole bunc…
The book (and ephemera) fair in th…
The book (and ephemera) fair in t…
photo by: ulysses