The sky was bright with sunshine, the air was crisp and clear. My partner and I were headed to the Uplands Market, the monthly feast of local foods, drinks, crafts, music and poetry in what’s always been the Bohemian part of town. Things made by people ‘from round yer,’ who believe in what they’re doing, who provide quality goods and who are an unmissable part of the life of the area.
So we roamed the stalls, coming away this time with some lovely pies that you wouldn’t get in the supermarkets, we heard a little poetry from the Do Not Go Gentle stage, we bumped into people we knew and had a catchup – you know, the sort of community things that real markets do.
The Square was full of people, browsing at the slower pace you find outside city centres, and there was a pleasant buzz of activity. I stopped off to talk to my old friend Jeff (Dylan’s Mobile Bookstore); we popped into a nearby cafe, which, predictably, was packed. But it was as though they too were the market, for the atmosphere outside permeated inside too.
We came away in our own good time, thinking that this is what local community feels like, this is how local businesses flourish in a wintry economic climate. This is why I champion local businesses.