It is getting festive at Surrey Street Market in Croydon
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.... and there are some really exciting things happening on Surrey Street.
On Saturday, 7th, Wednesday, 11th and Thursday 19th December local live bands will be entertaining you as you shop - now where else do you get that? There are loads of gifts on the market and it really is the best place to get your Christmas day veg.
While you are wandering around, listening to music, enjoying the atmosphere and getting stocked up for the big day, you may well feel a little chilly. There is plenty of hot food and drink on the market and, nearby, Matthew’s Yard cafe have some amazing Christmas cakes and goodies on offer.
I am having to exercise extreme willpower every time I go anywhere near there. In fact, writing this piece now is giving me a huge urge to take my laptop, jump on the tram and have Christmas cake for lunch - well it’s lunch, the calories are acceptable if it’s a meal right?! You’re lucky in that you can take a break from your Christmas shopping and warm up in a cafe.
Have you ever wondered about the traders? Some of them will be out in the cold on the market from around six or seven am, having already been to cold, unheated market warehouses at Spitalfield and Covent Garden. Some will then be out on Surrey Street until around six in the evening. It’s a long cold day! I asked some of the traders how they cope.
Layering is the main key to keeping warm. Air gets trapped between layers and this insulates the body better than one thick jumper. Of course, the thick wool is great too and makes a great top layer under the coat.
Gloves, often more than one pair are worn. Hats of course as we all know we loose most of our heat through our heads. Standing on cold concrete is a fast track to discomfort. The cold seems to just travel from the feet into the depth of your bones and there is stays all day. Many traders will wear several pairs of socks and some will put out flattened cardboard boxes to stand on.
Keeping moving is a big key to keeping warm so you will see them jumping around between customers. The cafe’s on Surrey Street do a roaring trade in hot tea and hot chocolate among the traders - the best way to warm up your hands and insides.
Traders are not permitted to bring any heaters as it is a safety risk but the spot lights warm up well and are as useful for heat as lighting. A big Surrey Street Secret is that many traders have hot water bottles under their clothing. I’ll be spending a lot of time on Surrey Street in the coming weeks taking part in the music festivals so I may just try that myself....
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