I'm very happy with this month's Colour Collaborative theme. At first, I started thinking about seasonality and locally-grown food. About this - autumn - being the most sensuous of months, and how markets are all about tastes, aromas, sounds, colours, textures: how things catch our eye and we have to reach out and touch, smell, feel.
But then I realised something else: that if you want to really experience the essence of a place, to discover what people eat and how they interact, to learn about the landscape and climate and culture... Go to the market.
I remember - back in those distant footloose and fancy-free days - staying in Paris, not far from the Champs Elysees. I arrived at night time and went for dinner then to bed. The following morning I opened the curtains and to my delight there was a market in the street below: beautifully-arranged fruits and nuts and vegetables, breads and cheeses. I'd never before seen the humble market elevated to a spectacle of such beauty.
Since then I've been lucky enough to visit flower markets in Amsterdam, Quincy Market in Boston, the Ramblas in Barcelona, the Cloth Hall in Krakow... all places filled with vibrant, kaleidoscopic colour and unusual regional wares.
But to return home again (sigh). I grew up visiting the market each week with my mum. Often my grandma was in tow too, clattering people around the ankles with her tartan trolley. I remember the plant stalls bright with potted chrysanthemums and cyclamen, the bolts of patterned cloth, the steam-enveloped black pudding stall. You'd eat the bursting puddings with yellow mustard squirted into their crumbly, fat-studded insides.
The traditional British market is an institution in its own right. Those old halls with fancy steelwork and glass roofs, home to greasy spoon cafes and hardware stalls. The red-and-white striped bag from the butcher. The kitschy-coloured iced buns.
These days we occasionally visit the local farmer's market. There are more exotic (and expensive) things to be had than at the weekly Saturday morning affair: vivid Romanesco cauliflowers, purple carrots, cheeses encased in rainbow-hued wax.
Most of it is locally-produced and seasonal.
Some of it isn't. But that doesn't mean it should be resisted. I do love the scented, delicately-coloured Turkish delight sitting in trays of powdered sugar.
Our weekly market is very small. But the fruit and vegetable stall is big and we seldom need to go elsewhere for our healthy stuff. Aside from the usual staples I love to go and discover what the season has to offer. The fact that these things are only around and at their best for a short time makes me anticipate their arrival all the more.
Right now, we have jewel-filled pomegranates, rich purple figs (each nestled in its own orange paper case), blue-black damsons, violet-smudged baby turnips, rosy Cox apples, bright satsumas, inky blackberries, speckled golden plums...
The things we buy at the market seem to keep us in touch with the earth and the seasons. That's something we crave in these busy days where it's easy to feel ever-more removed from slow, simple living. I principally stick to my shopping list then see where my eye takes me; more often than not it's to the bright stuff. Maybe that's a subliminal thing. My body telling me to 'eat the rainbow' as we're often advised to do. Or maybe it's just my magpie instinct.
But there are few things better than coming home laden with produce and cooking a big pan of soup whilst arranging these seasonal delights in bowls around the kitchen.
Don't forget to visit the other Colour Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts, just click on the links below.
What is The Colour Collaborative?
All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.