Portobello Road in London W11 is a most curious mix of home and abroad. Wandering down it today in the bright sunshine, there were shades of many foreign cities and at times I could imagine I was anywhere between Morocco and Hong Kong.
It is the sort of road which can almost give that horrible word “multiculturalism” a positive spin.
Part of my current regime is to try and do new things all the time. They need not be dramatically “new” or even “dramatic”. Merely non-routine. Things which I do not often do. Even buttering your toast on the wrong side or wearing different clothes or drinking something unusual can often work to re-set your mind, to break out of recurring and often unconstructive thought patterns.
If microdosing on psilocybin isn’t your idea of fun, try breaking out in different ways. It seems to have a beneficial effect.
Second hand clothes shops, exotic food stalls, second hand music, fabulous cafes and restaurants. Jewellery stalls, junk, fruit and veg. The lot. And the people – all colours, all nationalities. Somehow a predominantly middle eastern or perhaps Turkish feel today. But lots of “English” shops too in this curious mix of tat and hugely expensive houses.
It was the same sort of carefree fun as Stanley market in Hong Kong, almost as much fun as Constantinople. Aromas, smells, whiffs of spices, fruits, coffee. Lovely colours, exotic clothes, exotic bohemian people.
Large caribbean gentlemen who may have offered me forbidden wares, shaven headed turks, scruffy, fun, cosmopolitan, relaxed. Out of my depth, far from my comfort zone. Bohemian rhapsody and glad of it.
And after that a wander through Kensington, back to posh and conventional. Holland Park and its grandeur, the glamour of Camden Hill and the super wealthy.
And on to grubby Hammersmith and a quiet walk down the Thames towpath.