London, part 3 – Portabello Road


“Portabello Road, Portabello Road, street where the riches of ages are sold.  Anything and everything a chap  can unload, is sold off a barrow in Portabello Road.”   Ok, so I didn’t actually sing the song from Bedknobs & Broomsticks out loud but it certainly ran through my head as we visited Portabello Road on Saturday morning.  I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, certainly not the flea-market setting from the movie, but I wasn’t prepared for a plethora of antique malls and stalls.    I was forewarned to expect crowds and crowds we had!

Portabello Road

I was, in fact, on a bit of a mission in Portabello Road.  I was trying to find two commemorative plates to finish off a friend’s collection.  After sticking my head into enough little shops to cause my mom to decide to wait it out in the safety of the pub, I finally through myself on the mercy of a shopkeeper.  Do you know anyone who carries…? Well, she didn’t but she did point me back across the way to Fergus who sells china and knows everyone who does.  Fergus sent me down the road to another antique mall with the assurance that a vendor in the back corner stall had what I sought.  That vendor sent me around a few corners in the same mall and I finally found a wonderfully knowledgeable gentleman who had just what I was looking for.  In my foray, I also found a Clan McDonald plaid scarf and, when I least expected it, a quilt design in the entry way to the pub!

I’m also fascinated with windows and doorways in architecture and I found this cute entryway on Portabello Road…

Doesn’t that just look like a place you’d love to be invited to for tea?  Speaking of tea, being gluten-intolerant kept me from enjoying the traditional scones and clotted cream but I did manage to sneak in clotted cream a couple of times and it is wonderful stuff!  Not at all like the fake clotted cream I make at home…although it’s lovely, too.    (In case you’re interested, fake clotted cream is made by taking 3 oz of cream cheese, 8 oz heavy whipping cream, about a tablespoon of powdered sugar and a few drops of vanilla – just put them together in the blender or food processor and mix until firmer than whip cream.)

My Mom’s favorite piece in the V&A

After Portabello Road and a bit of lunch, we hopped over to the Victoria and Albert Museum.  One of the most unique and, to me, endearing things about the V&A  is that it contains copies of some of the greatest works in the world..yes, copies.  You see, Victoria and Albert realized that many of their people would never have the ability to travel to see the works of the great masters so they comissioned plaster castings of pieces like “David” and other great works.  Thus the British people could travel the world of art without having to leave home!  An interesting aside to this is that some of the original pieces have been lost to disasters so that these castings are the only remaining record of them.  Can you imagine, though, if you went to a museum now and asked permission to cast one of their scupltures?  They’d probably have you kicked out for merely suggesting it!!   The V&A isn’t all copies, though, it’s full of an assortment of art including this little guy who my mom’s favorite.  Up close, it’s even more impressive with the details like buttons and button holes and even eyelet in the sleeves so beautifully made that they call out to be touched (don’t worry…I didn’t!)

Detail in the eyelet lace on his cuff.

We had tickets for the Key Ceremony at the Tower of London this evening so we only just skimmed the V&A, knowing we’d be back again.

Again, life is calling and rather than put this post off again, I’m going to post this much of the story then pick up again at the Tower…with one of my favorite shots of the whole trip!


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