Markets and Medicine

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On Saturday, we first walked around, exploring the neighborhood a bit to our north. Upper Street stretches with many restaurants. from fast food chains to locally owned ethnic, with upscale french bistros and Ottolenghi’s first outpost punctuating the offering. We turned off the main streets to check out addresses of some other apartments I’d bookmarked in the area, and then turned into Camden Market.

Just a few streets of stalls of antiques, collectibles, and just plain junk–about a tenth of the size of the Portabello Market, but completely without the crowds.  There are also shops selling cheeses, fancy bakeries, a butcher, fishmonger, and arty clothing. Hidden in a passage was a shop focusing on Liberty-style antiques, anyone want to buy me a gorgeous pair of candlesticks?

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We next hopped onto a bus that took us deeper into East London, through the neighborhoods of Hoxton and Hackney. It was fun on the bus, with a mixture of people, from older folks who sounded and looked as if they’d been east Londoners for 10 generations, to sari or chador-clothed women; hipsters with artfully torn leggings, cellphones and piercings; everyone chatting and  helping each other with their bulky wheeled shopping carts as they got on or off at the stop for the Hoxton Market. Careening down streets packed with ugly post-war apartment blocks, we finally arrived at Broadway Market in Lincoln Fields. Food market nirvana, more down to earth than Borough Market.

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Many stalls, selling just about anything delicious you could imagine. We shared several items for lunch as we wandered around–a leek and mushroom pie, a Vietnamese banh mi sandwich, crispy Indian samosa turnover, two gorgeous eclairs. We also bought some fresh pasta for dinner from a man speaking Italian, a container of Sicilian pesto, some cheeses, fruit and vegetables.

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On the bus home, I was intrigued by all the houseboats docked on a canal, and the very London mixture of old and new.

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In the afternoon, we went over to the Wellcome Collection, a small museum near Euston Station focused on health. It’s a rather different place, as the website says, it “it explores the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future.” This weekend was an event called “Speaking with Your Body”, I never did figure out exactly what that was all about, but there were people making clay sculptures of their hands; and having intense conversations in the exhibit on Bedlam, mental hospitals in London, and artistic therapies. Lots of visual and auditory art in response to mental illness, some moving, some just unsettling.

There’s permanent galleries with a large exhibit from the collections of William Wellcome, which we really enjoyed. Each area focused on a different aspect of medicine–ailments, therapies, medical training, death, birth, sexuality, faith. Fascinating artifacts, creepily engaging.

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Historic attempts to control Nasty Women–a 14th century  chastity belt, and a 16th century “scold’s” Mask. Keep trying, boys.

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Oh, and those fun-loving Ancients.

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Pasta for dinner, very good pumpkin tortelloni I dressed in butter and sage; and a nice salad.

 

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