I know I’m not breaking any new ground, travel-wise, here in rural England. But sometimes it’s just fun to marvel at how different a place can be just in terms of its regular day-to-day shopping.
We hiked down to Blackbushe Market, which sounds twee because it has a little -e on the end, but is really just a gargantuan parking lot with people selling socks, DVDs and cheap clothes. You can shop from secondhand, garage-sale people for free, but it’s 50p entry to mill around the new stuff.
On offer were quite a few things you wouldn’t see in the U.S. Such as:
It’s true–the British really love their dogs. This is a photo of a small area, and it doesn’t show the vast size of the stand selling pet gear and food–a double-wide lot. And it wasn’t the only operation at the market. In the village near us, where there isn’t a real grocery store, there is a giant pet-supply shoppe.
Oh, why I am just describing it? I do have a photo. I just didn’t want the post to skew too heavily toward dog food. But maybe that’s fair.
At Blackbushe, there was a stand selling South African food. Have never seen such a thing. The place was packed, and not, apparently, with South Africans. Spicy stuff is thin on the ground here, so perhaps that’s part of the appeal. Well, that and jerky. In the convenience store in the village near us, they sell kits for making nachos. The brand is Mexican Discovery, with the tagline “More Adventurous Tastes.” Sigh. I miss Mexico.
Elsewhere at the market was a stall selling oil paintings–new and horrible ones, like you’d see in a cheap motel. Where do they come from? And even more baffling, who buys them? It felt very Dutch golden age, when oil paintings went mainstream.
Nearby, someone else was selling “hi vis vests.” Cyclists here are big on reflect-y things. What you especially wouldn’t see in the U.S.:
Also surprising at the market was the number of butchers. One was even auctioning off hunks of pork roasts, with the head butcher wearing one of those head mikes so that he looked like Britney Spears on tour, and riling up the crowd to bid higher.
Remember how I said British signs were wordy? This is partially what I mean.
On the other hand, here’s an excellent use of quotation marks:
After the market, we hiked back to Hartley Wintney, the village near us. That village with only a convenience store. Which I know is not exactly a fair place to judge a culture, but you can buy these everywhere:
It’s times like this I’m glad we get fed in a cafeteria here on the campus where we’re staying–a cafeteria where I can just point to what I want, and don’t actually have to ask for a pork faggot. Or a postman’s leg.