Sunday, August 26, 2007

When I was a kid mom and Rick would pile us into the light blue Taurus and wheel us off to visit Anne and Steve - a rather interesting, no-longer-together, couple of "I love 1975" cats. They had this really neat shack of a place on the grounds of a Southern Ontario "no man's land" flea market: Circle M. I remember talk of the big and fancy Aberfoyle Market that was up the hill and around the bend, rumours told tales that you had more choice in the chest of drawers department, but there was no old man handing out suckers with your parking tickets. So, I always thought, why bother? Circle M is good enough for me.
Through visits such as these (and her endless collection of Cottage Life) my mom fostered in me an appreciation for older things. I learned early on that a true Victorian styled house would have a butler's pantry, and that a Harvest Table was a much cooler kitchen addition than any of those marble-top islands people were installing. I think, much to my mom's horror, this aesthetic appreciation for aged elements of culture, transferred itself into my wardrobe. As a 16 year old girl I was pulling apart bins at Value Village and finding total puppy love in a discarded hand bag. Many dollars have been spent on wrap skirts left over from a dead woman's estate sale. I was nervous that taking this hop into Brussels would make my retro needs more difficult to satisfy. But, no, yesterday...oh, yesterday, with your sunshine and dog poop filled streets - was the mother-load.

I started the day, exhausted from a too late night on Friday, with a metro ride to Porte de Hal, where I met Tori, Megan and Chelsey (and a really bulbous woman who had four dogs - one, who I didn't know was Russells' double, came over in pure russ-diddy styles and leaned on me with total shake-leg.) and we walked right into the most expansive, eclectic and interesting Flea Market I have ever seen. Granted, there was a sharply felt absence of old Stevie Wonder albums, and no one seemed to be trying to sell off any piles of Cabbage Patch kids, but, wow, there was everything else you could ever imagine.

The most interesting aspect of this market, with its bikes, jewels, jackets, bags of garbage, and suitcases full of matches, was the bizarre 'horned animal' theme that we detected quite early in the walk through. No kidding. We found voluminous demonstrations of hoofed animals - some recast in the role of room light, some (with 6 legs) mounted and waiting for a fireplace to call home, some etched into necklaces, others as the heads of lighters and still more in almost 'whole' form looking for the dioramas they escaped from.

I left with some glass clip on earrings, a pair of mary janes and the smell of my grandmother all around me.

From here we went to the LatinoFestival. It was amazing. In addition, to watching the parade of smiling and occasionally salsa-walking folks, endless varieties of food, some really good tea and some of the best 'girl time' I have had in ages - we also found a really amazing street that offers up two fantastic vintage clothing shops - one more on the posh (but still super cheap) side, and the other in the more 'dig through these bins and see what you find' side. I was satisfied!

I also found the BEST stationary shop I have ever seen in my life - MOSAIK - they make their own cards and colouring books. IT rocks.

I have major plans to check out this area when there aren't half naked latino women dancing to rasta bands jamming up the sidewalks. It was an amazing afternoon. I think I will have to move to this area of the city next year.

The day wrapped up with a nice little get together at La Maison. All new folks joined together and had some drinks. It was fantastic.

This morning I pulled myself out of my comfy king-sized futon to explore the amazing food-and-stuff 'Midi-Market' that, open only on Sundays, offers patrons an array of food, spices, tapas items, clothes, and the most beautiful selection of plants I have ever laid eyes on. I came away with groceries and one ivy plant that I have stuck at the top of my loft - its tendrils are looking lovely hanging over the edge. I have major plans for that place next weekend. Plants galore.

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