Sunday, 7 February 2010

Thorough Borough


A walk through Borough Market is always a particular pleasure, whether the stalls are crowded with produce or not. First there's Southwark Cathedral towering over it all like a lost Cotswold abbey, and then the railway crossing over the Thames and negotiating the tight curves of track over the viaduct to London Bridge station, the wheels squealing like bacon slicers. Unmitigated Readers may have heard me go on in this vein before, but I expect it will be an annual event like reading Three Men In A Boat. To be on this train and look down on the backs of houses and narrow streets is to experience the ghost of Dickens and the faint outlines of a Gustav Dore engraving. We sauntered through on Thursday, admiring hand raised pork pies and these pheasants bringing a whiff of misty shoots out in the Shires to the noise and bustle of London streets. Was ever thus, the countryside meeting London, and what better place than this with the added extra of the Market Porter pub smelling of stale beer on its wooden floors and fresh Harvey's Sussex Bitter in the taps. Sometimes the eyebrows get raised (Scottish Camembert at Neal's Yard) but overall this is a joyous place to be. Right, time to get the game chips prepared and a frypan of bubble and squeak I think.

10 comments:

Martin H. said...

The office of one of the architects I work for is just to the side of the Market, in Winchester Walk (just missed you, Peter, I was there on Friday!) On my short walk from London Bridge Station I pass down a pedestrian tunnel from the High Street, which comes out in the market. It is dark, built of crumbling brick and usually wet from water falling through the aforementioned brickwork. On a grey, overcast day even the lights of the little cafes built into its walls cannot dispel the impression that I have somehow been transported back 150 years.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Trust you, Peter, to end a walk around Borough Market in the Market Porter, a hostelry I remember with great pleasure.

I hope you're collecting examples of butchers' chalky calligraphy. Our local butcher's blackboard frequently features 'FRESH LOCAL WABBITS'.

Jon Dudley said...

One of my favourite saunters in London, captured beautifully. Last time I was there an unusually attractive Italian lady persuaded me to part with the thick end of twenty quid for a piece of recently trapped Parmesan. Good though.

And did the Harveys 'travel' well?

Peter Ashley said...

The Harveys was particularly good Jon thankyou. Especially the two I had in my favourite City chop house- Simpson's Tavern in Cornhill. They now do a Full English for a fiver between 8 and 11, weekdays. Looks like I'll be down again soon.

williamandemma said...

I'd wager it's the best pint of Harvey's outside Lewes (their other beers are always interesting as well)... Having moved out of London 1 1/2 years ago i'm looking forward to the chance of going to Borough in April. Maybe i'll even be able to sneak a pint as well (if daughter is well enough behaved post-Guy's!)

CF said...

I'd only mentioned to my other half last week that probably my favourite rail trip was the squeely bit north of London Bridge overlooking the rooftops...

TIW said...

Shame the Thameslink development did for the marvellous old Wheatsheaf at Borough.

Harvey's have a gem of a pub up the road from Borough - the Royal Oak on Tabard street. However, their pints of Harvey's aren't as good as those at the Harp (or in fact, those at the Market Porter).

EM said...

I like the old England of your blog, but your use of the term 'frypan' makes me wonder if you are American? Bring back the traditional and well-loved '-ing-'.

Philip Wilkinson said...

I was about to second the comment about frypan when I thought I'd look in Oxford English Dictionary. Their first example of 'frypan' comes not from America but from Scotland, in Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, in 1832. The first American citation is from a book by Thoreau 30 years later. So does that make 'frypan' Scottish? Hoots-mon, fry me a slice o'haggis...

Peter Ashley said...

Of course it was Thoreau I had in mind. No it wasn't, I just forgot what I was doing. Not for the first time.