Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Alex, Part I

... styrofoam knife block ...
Rebecca and I went to the Friday Market on the High Street – off the High Street, really, in a large parking lot – the one across from the Indian grocery store that we like to go to for cans of crushed mango.

There is a butcher there in the market and a fish monger and various other stalls.

The people marketing the seconds from Marks and Spenses were selling everything for a fiver.

“Hard to find anything," said Rebecca. "The labels are cut out and there is not way to tell the sizes."

Still one woman had 15 articles of clothing over her arm. I picked up a lovely knee length silk coat with a huge rip across the left side, just about the pocket.

 ...what are you afraid of ... ... pick them yourself ...
Already I could figure out that Wyona and I would think that would be a good buy.

We could just mend that rip, add some decorative tape and look like a million dollars for a fiver.

I watched women negotiating with the hawker and showing him the rip across the trousers, or the dirt on the seam of the linen jacket.

He would knock off a pound or two.

Bolts ends of tapestry, silver threaded lengths of material neatly folded, needles and thread and notions were on a table, a woman sitting there waiting for shoppers.

 “How do you think she makes enough to live on,” Rebecca asked.

I slipped over to the stall where an old man was selling the leather handbags and wallets. I was looking for something soft enough to lay over my shoulder and large enough to carry a lunch in, for I know I am walking for twelve hours in Rome next month with the Carter-Johnsons. Nothing there in the stall that met those specifications.

Alex had ordered salmon for supper.
"Do you want the bones and head?"
Rebecca had seen Glen get fish mongered – filleted and deboned.

And she had watched him grill it over charcoal briquets when he was here – so that will be our menu tonight.

Nobody want to be the only person at a stand in the market, the full focus of attention. But when one person stops, soon a crowd gathers to make their purchases. The fish monger was using big scissors to clip off fins and tails and then slipping the fish into plastic bags. Some people were queing to buy 5 sea bass for ten pounds. Rebecca says sea bass is on the menu at the chichi restaurants now and you get it with the head on – with lots of bones. Styles of eating come in and out of fashion.

One woman wanted five crab. “Watcha afraid of. Pick em yourself. They like you. They won’t bite you,” he hollered out.

She divided her time between figuring out how to keep her eye on her two little girls and how to put her hand in the barrel and pick the five crab she wanted. She would stop, move the stroller, put the brake back on and then mess with moving the crab around, trying to find large ones.
... I have exact change for you ...

"What time is it?", the monger asked.

 Rebecca looked at her watch and said 11:23.

“Oh we have a professional here, do we,” he said to her.

 “What do you want darling,” he said to the next woman.

The air was full of idle chit chat amongst the customers, each time a new one arriving at the stall asking, “Is that sea bass?”, and he would nod.

A bent old woman pulled a plastic bag out of her pocket, turned it inside out, bent into the barrel of bones and fins, picked out a fish head using the bag, turned it inside out, and then went to the man and asked if she could have it for free. “Yes, darling,” and sent her on her way.

He asked Rebecca if she wanted the bones and head from the salmon he had done for her. Thirteen pounds was what he was charging.

 She declined the offer of the bones and said, “Here I have exact change.”

 “Oh, so dear of you. If all of my customers could be the same – bring exact change, it would speed up my business so,” he called after us.
... the only way to buy boxers

And now we are home with ten of the most beautiful salmon steaks to cook.

All hail the sea.


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