December 19, 2008
Columbia Road Christmas Wednesdays
Apologies for my absence this week – I’ve just emerged from a tangle of ribbons, wrapping paper and sticky gold stars. Those things get everywhere, don’t they? It was only on Wednesday night that I discovered I’d been walking around London all day with a gold star stuck to my bottom. At least my arse had something festive to say. Season’s greetings, Londoners!
Sartorial misfortune dealt with, I made my way to Columbia Road for their late night Christmas shopping event. I love walking around this part of East London in December. The Victorian lamps and cobbled lanes offer a rare glimpse into what it would have looked like 150 years ago. And the makeshift bonfire-in-a-bin blazing at the end of Ezra Street offered local kids the chance to do their very best impressions of street urchins looking for trouble.
Fortunately, the glow from the flames conveniently led to a stand selling Bloody Mary oyster shots, instantly providing the perfect antidote to the cold and frosty evening. (As did the complimentary vodka shots at Ryantown; mulled wine and mince pies at Treacle; and a large glass of red wine from a rather generous barman at the Royal Oak.)
Columbia Road’s little shops looked extra inviting with fairy lights and flickering candles, offering frozen shoppers a warm and cosy retreat from the cold darkness outside.
Illuminated bunnies and mushrooms at Bob & Blossom.
It was my first chance to check out Buddug Humphries and Jessie Chorley’s new shop, upstairs from Marcos and Trump at number 146, which was packed with whimsical-kooky bird accessories and vintage-style jewellery. Perched at the top of a narrow, rickety staircase, it resembled a slightly shambolic Victorian girl’s bedroom. Too tiny and tightly packed to take any pics!
I also dug the paper-cut Christmas decorations at Ryantown (check out the giant safety pin), as well as Rob’s new line of Christmas stockings and hand-signed cards (affordable art at £5).
Before I made a beeline for Kingsland Road and its fantastic Vietnamese restaurants, I picked up a bunch of fresh mistletoe, which proved to be an amusing prop for the rest of the evening’s entertainment.
Apparently there's been a bumper crop of mistletoe this year, so there's plenty around. Head down to Columbia Road flower market on Sunday for the freshest and cheapest bunches in London.
Columbia Road's shops are also opening all day on Saturday 20th December from 10am to 4pm.