Tuesday 8 November 2011

Ms Marmite Lover's Underground Market

Ms Marmite Lover's lovely house

This weekend I had the privilege of being invited to my lovely friend Georgina and her lovely, now husband, Rich's wedding party. I was thrilled to be invited, not only because it meant I got to go to London for the weekend and celebrate George and Rich's wedding with them, I also got to catch up with a load of college friends I haven't seen in a million years and as if that wasn't enough, it also meant I had the perfect excuse to be in town on the Saturday afternoon with nothing to do, except nurse the teeny weeniest of hangovers from the night before (for teeny weeny read mind numbingly disabling). 

The reason I was so thrilled to have an afternoon off in London on this particular day was that it happened to coincide with the fabulous Ms Marmite Lover's Underground Farmer's Market in her house. For those of you who are a little confused by this concept, it is exactly what it sounds like. Ms Marmite Lover, a pioneer of the supper club movement in the UK, has started opening up her house to stall holders from across the land and their hungry customers, squishing stalls into the most unlikeliest of spaces. Cocktails in the bedroom, knitting circles in the bed, hot food in the garden, jam in the hall, crafts and take home treats in the living room and let's please not forget the oh so awesome complete complaints management service lady in the hallway who will tailor make a complaint for you for any occasion and find just the right words you didn't even know you needed to express your woes. Genius idea and an incredibly charming lady. 

What I loved most about the event, apart from the food of course, (my favourite being the authentic tacos and the incredibly fresh Greenwich Smoked Salmon which I was assured had been swimming in the sea not three days before and boy did it taste that way), was the incredible attitude of all the people involved, stall holders and punters alike. I've rarely been in a place with a more positive community spirit. When my friend Flora commented to one of the stallholders that it was a shame the garden wasn't a bit bigger so they could get more customers through and hence make a bit more money, he replied with a big smile on his face,  'it's not about the money' and it wasn't. (That said that I parted with more money at this market that I have at any other I've ever attended. I usually tend to be more of a market browser than a buyer, for two reasons, 1. I can never make a decision about what I want and 2. I can never afford what I want. But here, I was so elated with all the positivity, I was throwing the money about like nobody's business. Also could have had something to do with that hangover. I digress.) What was so wonderful about his simple answer was that it was true. This day wasn't about making money, of course people were hoping you'd buy, but everyone was so keen to interact with each other no matter who you were or what your reasons were for being there. The stall holders were as interested to hear what we had to say as we were to listen to them. It was community building in every sense of the word. 

Here's a few photos to give you a taste. Sorry about the quality. Ryanair does not facilitate bringing both good camera and wedding party dress. It had to be one or the other. Style's always got to win right?

she wasn't so sure about the pheasants
Kedgeree anyone? No?
Taco's on the other hand....
The busy garden
Arancini man
Fish smoking on the bonfire
A bit of atmosphere
More atmosphere
Cooking demos in the kitchen...
...they got pretty crowded
Cocktails in the bedroom
Jam in the hall
A table of loveliness
The sense of positivity and community at this market was palpable. But we so often associate community with location, where we live, where we work, so why was I feeling so much a part of this community that I had no experience of, never encountered in real life before?  I was confused. I suppose that's where blogging and the internet comes in. It's corny but true. The internet is shrinking the world. I lived in London for nine years and I think had I managed to stumble upon this event in any of those nine years I would have felt like I was intruding upon someone else's world (that says more about my nervousness than the welcoming nature of the event by the way), but since I've started blogging, I've started following people, started online conversations with a few more, and without realising it or even courting it, have become involved in a community. This kind of interaction is new to me and still a little strange but it was so wonderful to see it come together in the real world and see the amazing, inspiring, life affirming things that can be achieved through online communication. So often the internet is used as a way of avoiding real life communication but this market was the result of using those internet communications and connections in the most positive of ways, enabling real life interaction with people whom you may not otherwise have the opportunity to meet. It was a brilliant thing to be a part of so thanks to Ms Marmite Lover and all those who were involved in running and organising the event. You should all be very proud.


  1. Thank you for writing such lovely things about me.
    Have a blessed day x
    Karen Campbell
    Scribe Complaints

  2. It was a brilliant event! I loved being there as a stall holder selling jewellery and enjoyed your write up :)