Random encounters

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Sunday morning visits to the market are few and far between but when they do happen they provide a rich palette of memories and the possibility of an unexpected purchase along the way.

The regular outdoor sunday market began to liven up around 10.45am. People gathered to browse, barter and buy. Anything is fair game from the latest fashions at 5 Euros apiece, through to hats, baskets, bakery goods and livestock. Fresh produce was laid out  on decorate hessian-covered stalls. Lettuce and lemons looked crisp and fresh in the light of a cool spring morning. The chaos of setting up slowly took shape, destined to be packed away again in a few short hours.

Fur coats and shell-suits blended seamlessly, cheap black leather-like bomber jackets and smart linen blazers battled for position with polite but affirmative action. Nations mingled, communities chatted and families fed; accompanied by the rhythm of life from the market increasing in volume as the day warmed.

Lovers and couples meandered without a plan whilst men stand on corners waiting for mothers and wives to appear from behind lines of blouses and skirts. Some folk regimented in a plan to ensure no stall, row, table or floor space was missed.

Differing paces, thoughts brought to mind, decisions to make for individuals each with or without an agenda. Mental shopping lists for bargains interspersed with repetitive key phrases: “if only we had one; we could use one of those; It’s rubbish, feel the poor quality; now that’s interesting; do you fancy some…”

Rails of hung dresses and wrap around pinnies create colourful backdrops for handbags and brollies. Slippers and court shoes, brogues and driving shoes mingle with each other at the cheaper end of the stall but stand proud in pairs, elevated and resting on shoe boxes as the prices increase.

Rows of pre-owned DVDs at two euros each or three for five euros litter trestle table tops. Titles in Spanish, both obscure and familiar, row after row after row. Funny how you can always find one, maybe two you think will make the grade but never the third, three  for five euros.

Chickens, ducks, rabbits and songbirds remain still in small cages whilst farmers and small holders discuss the weather and harvests. Potted fruit trees, a few remaining weakly looking seedlings and ornamental pot plants desperate for water show themselves in their not-so-full glory.

Dried herbs and crushed leaves displayed in open plastic caskets give a passing faint aroma to attract and allure, each purporting to cure or alleviate disease and distress, boost your sex drive and calm your nerves. Olives of all sizes swimming in brine, boiled sweets and nuts pre-weighed in bags, end of the line makeup, cheap costume jewelry with fake designer watches telling differing times .

The market weaves its way from new goods to second-hand goods. Local police idle their time smoking and chatting. More people arrive and leave, a constant flow of shoppers, hunters and gatherers. Men chatter in low voices, dealing with matters only men and markets inspire.

Spotted from afar, an artist’s palette nestled amongst rusting ironwork and newly sharpened,old tools. Displaying the remains of many colours mixed for canvases long hung or flung. Brush strokes recorded as they were mixed and mingled. Trying not to look too eager or interested as not to inflate the price. An enquiry, a price, an offer, a shake of the head, accepted and acquired, a palette with a history of great art, reflecting life in the market, the tools of a great artist, destined to become art itself. Random encounters?

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2 responses to “Random encounters

  1. I like these observational pieces. A snapshot in time. Thanks Jenny.

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