The Farmer’s Market:
I’ve been going to the same farmer’s market every Sunday for the last three or four years. As I stand deciding which stall to go to first, I hear The Egg Man say something to a customer that relates to experts. Now, it could be he’s saying that stating that, ‘We’ve all had enough of experts,’ which is what Michael Gove said during the referendum campaign, is the stupidest thing he’s ever heard in his life but I don’t think that is what he is saying. I’m fond of The Egg Man, which may be because he looks like Father Christmas but has the teeth or lack of teeth you might associate with a jump jockey. He and I eye each other cautiously over the top of his eggs; he is perhaps assessing whether having a conversation about the referendum with me is a good idea. I have decided that under no circumstances must I talk to him about the referendum or I may start smashing eggs on the ground and stamping on them like a toddler. I stand there for a moment deciding which eggs to buy and then say, ‘Isn’t it amazing how well the English Rugby side have been doing in Australia.’ A look of relief passes over his face and off we go: Eddie Jones, the Under 21s, Owen Farrell, Mario Itoje, the Grand Slam, and then on to What’s The Matter with English Football and Aren’t the Welsh Doing Well. Phew! I buy my eggs and thank him.
At the bread stall a woman in front of me is wailing and gnashing her teeth. She is going on and on. The Bread Man is covered in tattoos, so while she goes on and on I gaze at them coiling and twisting around his arms in beautiful patterns. Eventually my patience snaps. Oh shut up and buy your bloody bread, I think, but then I realise that all the things she’s saying to The Bread Man are exactly the same things I have been saying to my partner for the last three days. Oh, I think, that’s why my partner told me to “FOR GOD’S SAKE STOP”. Do not talk about the referendum I say to myself. Then I overhear The Bread Man say he’s Scottish and I hear the following words come out of my mouth, ‘I’ve got a lot of sympathy with Scotland.’ And off he goes and off I go. He was not for separation but now he is. ‘Before I felt sad at the idea of Scotland leaving the Union,’ I say, ‘but now I feel entirely sympathetic and want to move to Edinburgh.’ On and on we go until I turn and see a man with an expression on his face that could perhaps best be interpreted as, ‘Will this bloody woman shut up and buy her bloody bread.’ So I do – spelt loaf if you’re asking.
The Rocket/Lettuce Man is French and gets to the point with enviable directness. ‘Are you all idiots?’ he asks and I burst out laughing.
Finally, I buy strawberries and raspberries from an elegant zen-like Polish man with very blue eyes. I feel a craven need to apologise for the result but I don’t. Instead I say, ‘Your strawberries are delicious, really delicious,’ in a manner that Uriah Heap might approve of and he smiles slightly.
Later in the week I’m off to the bookshop I work in. It is near the Polish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith which was vandalised with graffiti. When I walked down here a week ago lots of people were handing out stickers for the remain campaign. In fact I’ve still got one stuck to the inside of my bag. The people I work with are affected in different ways. A is Polish and has lived in the area for a very long time and is horrified and upset by the graffiti. B is Greek and her husband’s job in this country is partly funded by the EEC. While I am weeding the Nature section, C tells me that he is looking into Irish citizenship for his children. It turns out his father came over from Ireland when he was 14 to work on building sites in Liverpool and so both C and his children can apply. ‘That’s useful,’ I say. Then a customer turns round and says, ‘I come from Yugoslavia. I know what happens when things break apart.’
At a certain point I get an unnatural (for me) craving to buy right-wing newspapers. It’s because I’m curious to know what they are saying about everything, especially the melt down in the Conservative party, so I buy The Daily Telegraph. My God this newspaper is huge! I’d forgotten how big it is. I wrestle away with it, flapping and struggling. You need the wing-span of a golden eagle to hold it open. ‘I wonder how The Daily Mail is going to deal with the Johnson/Gove fall out,’ I say. My partner’s eyes have narrowed to slits. ‘If you’re thinking of bringing The Daily Mail in here . . .’ The sentence is left menacingly open-ended.
If you have any post brexit blues or celebrations or domestic tensions to share please be my guest. I’m getting over it slowly and will be thoroughly open minded in my responses.
If you need a good laugh take a look at the link below: Britain’s Completely Batshit Week since Brexit, Explained for Americans