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The last week has been great for getting out in London and taking advantage of the fact that we now live in a big city with lots of stuff going on all the time.

Last week Friday night, we tried to see a Brazilian parade around Covent Garden, but the parade never showed up. (Not sure if it was too cold or got delayed or we had the wrong date or what…) But since we were in that part of town anyway with our friends Matt & Clare, we went over to the National Portrait Gallery – which is open late on Friday nights with free entry – and browsed the Photographic Portrait Prize 2007 exhibit. From there we went back up to Stroud Green and had great Italian food at La Porchetta. Following dinner, we grabbed a late drink at The Larrik before calling it a night.

On Saturday afternoon, James and I headed over to Broadway Market in Hackney. There are so many great Saturday markets in London, and I’ve been wanting to check some of them out, but since Saturday is our only day of the week to sleep in and not hurry off anywhere, we tend to laze around most of the day until it’s too late to get to any markets. So last week we decided that come Saturday, we would actually get moving and get to a market. Broadway Market is easy for us to get to since we can take the 254 bus from Manor House to Westgate Road very close to the market. The ride itself was very entertaining as we went through Stamford Hill right when the synagogues were getting out and the place was swarming with Hasidic Jews in their fantastic costumes.

Line of olive oil The market itself was well worth getting up for. Within about five minutes of arriving, I said to James, “I think I’m in love!” There are stalls selling artisanal cheeses, breads, chocolate, and olive oil; free range and organic meat and eggs; fish and game; organic produce; gourmet coffee, tea, hummus, curries and spreads; Ghanaian stew; crepes with all manner of fillings; “The best burgers in the world”; etc. It’s a foodie paradise! In addition, there are lots of stalls selling vintage clothes, handicrafts, etc. We came home with three different kinds of Italian cheese (cut and wrapped for us by a gal from Oregon whose mother and grandmother went to Grand Valley State University), pheasant & pear sausages and a whole pheasant, Vietnamese coffee and the little filter for making it the Vietnamese way, and amazing baked treats from Violet made with Valrhona chocolate. It’s a place I hope to go back to many Saturdays and will be a wonderful place to take friends who come visit us in London. (Hint, hint!) You can see my photos of the market here. Flower stall

Sunday afternoon and evening were for resting as we had gotten up at 5:00 a.m. in order to be at church at 6 to help with the homeless Night Shelter breakfast shift. On Monday night we were out again seeing our friend David Bazan who played at 93 Feet East. Before the gig, James and I and our friend Matt took Dave for a curry in Brick Lane and had a great time catching up. The gig was terrific, and we were delighted to meet up with our friends Iain & Miriam, Phil & Gabi and Rachel at the gig too.

This afternoon James is headed out to Cheltenham for a Greenbelt strategy meeting. Since he’ll be there overnight, I’m joining my friend Clare and heading out to Staines to stay overnight on our friends Steve and Lorna’s houseboat. So far I’ve only seen photos of the boat and have been very eager to see it in person, so I’m glad the opportunity has finally come round. So I’ll be partying on the boat tonight. Sweet.