Saturday, 15 December 2012


Oh the joys of an English winter. First the collective germ-sharing that is public transport dishes up a London-wide epidemic of stomach viruses and "vomiting bugs" (oh delightful) and then, when the immune system is down and out, along comes snot & co. to really amp up the already considerable gross factor.

All of which is a very whiny, long-winded way of saying, I'm currently at home with a box of tissues and a nose that's running at Olympic speed. The stomach bug has gone now thankfully but I wasn't much up for eating last weekend, which was totally inconvenient given we went not to a feast but The Feast on Sunday.

I hadn't heard of the guys who organised this until an in-the-know friend forwarded me the link but it had mine and Lovely Boy's name written all over it and so we booked tickets a couple of weeks ago. LB sold on the idea of the food, me on the creative ambience. As it turns out, the team behind it are also responsible for the Dalston rooftop park so, had I made the connection,  I probably wouldn't have been as surprised at the clever use of initiative or its raging success.

Anyway, I love Islington so that in itself was a good enough reason for me to make the trek across town and it was held just off Upper St, on Islington Square in the former North London Mail Centre - now decrepit, soon to be shiny, ironic hipster apartments and a "cultural hub" whatever the fuck that means.

On Sunday though it was gloriously shabby, dark, atmospheric and buzzing. A guy out the front, replete with tail, was selling Christmas trees and inside, the ground floor was lined with food stalls from  some of the better known restaurants and market stalls around London - Hix, Mishkins, Eliots and Caravan among them. And under enormous glowing lanterns, connected by great swathes of fairy lights, were wooden banquet tables covered in candles and holly wreaths. Ahh it was so good!

There was a bandstand with musical offerings and wandering amongst the crowd, three wise men, Joseph and a pregnant Mary. Before I caught sight of them all together I'd spotted pregnant Mary and thought, jesus, that's an interesting ensemble, not sure I'd be wandering about in sandals and a blue sheet if I was preggers and it was -2 outside. But then I saw the rest of the gang and it all made sense. Sort of.

But anyway, the food, or what I ate of it, was delicious. An odd combination of Spanish pizza, mac 'n' cheese and meringue - obviously not all on the one plate at the one time - but LB added pulled pork buns and the biggest hotdog you've ever seen to his culinary haul and was suitably sated by the time we rolled out of there.

We were probably only there for a couple of hours but it was just a great afternoon and the suitably wintry dusk sky that loomed over us as we made our way back to Angel, via the antique shops on the lane behind Upper St gave the whole adventure an atmospheric beauty that should never been unappreciated when staring down months of unending grey.

This weekend should hopefully be as lovely, if not as adventurous. Last bits of Christmas shopping to do on Sunday and we're off to Neals Yard Therapy Rooms on Kings Rd tomorrow (both of us...) for some pampering - an incredibly generous early Christmas present from LB's Mum. Hopefully my nose won't drip throughout...

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