Sometimes you just have to go with it and release your inner self, throw caution to the wind and let the world see you for who you are. At 8:30 on Saturday morning I did exactly that, I threw off the shackles placed on me by society and showed myself for what I am, I released my inner anorak. Standing proudly on the bridge near Blackhorse Road Station, I waited excitedly for the Steam Train to pass by. The train was on its way to Bristol via the GOBLIN (Gospel Oak Barking Line), and my 12-year-old self would not have forgiven me if I had missed it. The moment came and went quickly, the thundering mass of living metal and steam came in to sight, the air-filled with smoke and the sound of pistons as the train rumbled under the bridge and continued on its journey. I noticed that people at the bus stop were looking in my general direction, so I pretended that I’d stopped on the bridge to do some mid run stretches. I hadn’t planned to see the train, not me, it just happened to pass by whilst I was there. I headed off and continued my run along Blackhorse Lane, and that gave me an idea for something we could do to continue a day that had started on a high note.
We left home, and much to the dogs delight jumped on the 158 bus towards Chingford Mount. The dog hates being in the car but could happily cruise around on a bus all day long. He sat on my partners knee and eyed up passengers as they got on the bus, sort of like the dog version of a bus conductor. This was only a short trip though, and the three of us got off the bus and headed up Sutherland Path to Blackhorse Workshop, the home of the monthly Blackhorse Market. Blue sky hugged the roof tops of E17, the smells drifting from the food stalls in the yard outside the workshop tickled our noses.
The market is made up of a mix of food stalls, artists and makers. On Saturday there was also a build your own bird box workshop, and a group planting trees in large metal containers. The warm weather had encouraged a fair amount of Walthamstow folk to come and pay the market a visit, so there was a good buzz about the place. My main focus on arrival was food, and there was some good stuff on offer. Smoked sausages, jerk chicken, pancakes, pizza, the choice was almost endless. We wandered around the yard and looked at all the mouth-watering options, but my choice had been made before we even arrived, it had to be chips with dips. We ordered two trays of chips, one with rosemary and garlic dip, and the other with mint and blackberry, then found a sunny spot to eat them. The market buzzed around us as we ate, and the dog found some other pooches to flirt with so he was happy. We got a couple of bottles of pale ale, brewed by the workshops very own Left Bank Brewery, and stood in the spring sunshine whilst the dog made eyes at a nearby greyhound.
With energy levels topped up by chips and beer we had another wander around, we looked at the craft and arts stalls inside the market, then drifted through to Wood Street Coffee and back out in to the sunny yard. We watched as various kids made bird boxes, each one delighted that they had built something from scratch. The chap supervising them didn’t so much as flinch when hammers came dangerously close to his fingers. By this point the dog had given up on the greyhound and was now flirting with a man on the Organiclea stall, we had to drag him away in order to get to our final stop of the day, the stall run by the East London Cheese Board. The service from East London Cheese was, as ever, excellent. We chatted about their new shop on Orford Road as we sampled cheese including a cave matured blue, and a red goats cheese (presumably not from red goats). Cheese purchased, beer gone and chips eaten, we reluctantly made our way out of the yard and continued with our Saturday
Looking back through my blog posts, I think this is the fourth time I’ve written about a visit to Blackhorse Workshop. I suppose this shouldn’t really be a surprise as there’s lots going on there. Wood Street Coffee, Left Bank Brewery and the Fermentarium all call this corner of E17 home, the market is yet another string to the Workshops bow. This was our first visit to the workshop on market day, but it won’t be our last. For more information about the workshop and the market, click here.