Skip to main content

Camden Market

Writing in the local paper. Local issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.


I grew up in my brothers clothes, literally. Im the youngest of two and inherited everything that survived his slips, spills and falls. One thing that drove my mother mad was that he was so hard on shoes that they almost never made it onto my feet and thanks to that, I got a shiny new pair that could easily climb slides every September. Everything else however, from winter jackets to baseball gloves, had seen a few battles before I first put them on. So in a sense I grew up second hand and when I started buying my own clothes, buying them second hand seemed like a natural progression. Where I come from, second hand shops are quite common. Like everything else these days, attempts have been made to rebrand these shops under names like vintage or boutique but at the end of the day they all sell stuff that people have sweated in before you get the chance to do the same. I have never really understood why Spaniards are happy to fly to London and search through the Camden markets for clothes yet refuse to do so here. Today's washing machines get stranger's dirt out just as well as stains ground in by cousins and older siblings. All the same, I was surprised to see the controversy surrounding the sale of second hand school uniforms here in Caceres the other day. The debate regarding school uniforms aside, I couldnt believe that the police had been called in to deal with families trying to lessen the tremendous financial burden of sending their kids to school. In a place where the local police are rather laissez-faire in their policing, their urgency to deal with mothers swapping clothes seemed odd to say the least. My eldest daughter is three and as shes going to a public school, we dont have to buy uniforms, but the extra school material not covered in the cutback budgets of the school has cost us over two hundred euros. One of the main arguments I hear people use for sending their kids to the semi-private (yet funded by public funds?) religious schools is the values that they are under the impression that they represent. I guess the lesson in thrift that my used jeans represented isnt one of them. 





Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The 10 Best Places to Swim...?

I read a post the other day listing the 10 best places to swim around the world. Reading through them I realized that I hadn't been to even one of them!

Poor me, but then I thought, wait...I've swum in some lovely places.

Let's narrow them down to 3 in no particular order.

Ginnie Springs, High Springs, Northern Florida


If northern Florida wasn't interesting enough in its own time travel way, these springs are perfect. It's a surreal place to swim among the Spanish moss while the alligators patrol out in the warmer river that the springs flow into (the big toothy grins don't like the cooler water).

Bir Ali, Yemen


Yemen never makes it onto the glossy Caribbean style travel brochures, but the emerald green of the Arabian Sea is a mighty match for hurricane alley. Just outside the town of Bir Ali you can camp on a deserted white sandy beach that seems to extend all the way down to Aden. Behind you the sands of the beach meet and mingle with those of the desert on the vol…

Thou Shalt All Think the Same

Writing in the local paper. Local Issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.

One of the first things that drew me to Spain back in the nineties was a feeling that people generally minded their own business. Sure, they might comment, criticize or even ridicule those who wore socks with sandals, ate in the street or simply did things differently, but at least they let them do it. While the hyper-entrenched norms of society exerted an enormous pressure on people to fit in, non-conformists were mostly looked down upon, but not necessarily punished. If someone wanted to transform a lovely nineteenth century house in their village into a three story apartment monstrosity, well, if the law somehow let them do it, it was their choice to do so. The homogeneity of streets and entire Spanish villages have suffered enormously due to this, but if that’s the look the owner wants, well? Taste is after all a …

Nothing to do with it

Writing in the local paper. Local Issues with a global take. I never translate literally and the editor trims at will to make it fit. Here's my version, then theirs.

Just as the bartender put down our caƱas, my companion somewhat skeptically asked, “But how is it possible that you, a Canadian, are complaining about the cold here in Spain?” And he was right on two fronts, I am Canadian and indeed I had been complaining about the cold, but I persevered, “After having lived abroad so long, I’m not sure how much ‘Canadian’ is left in me but even that last little bit is sick and tired of winter, especially as it is technically now spring!” A temporary truce was called when our tapas was served and as I enjoyed my morcilla (blood sausage), I got ready for the next volley. “Really, down here we can’t complain. Look at how they getting punsished just north of here in the mountains and beyond.” And once again, he was right, the images on TV were terrible reminders of my frozen childhood bac…