The brochure that the S-team picked up from somewhere promised the '4th Car free maritime Greenwich festival' at its best with 'car free events'(??) and a 'buzzing programme of free outdoor events'. Greenwich is one of my favourite London weekend destinations with its arts & crafts markets and numerous food stalls. The suggestion of more stuff happening in an already buzzing Greenwich was alluring to say the least. So come mid-day V and I legged it with much enthusiasm and the promise of being 'awash with fun performances, activities and displays'. A brochure picture (I know I know, all pictures look better than the real thing) of a sand sculpture of a horse in the middle of the road by some famous guy was another thing I was keen to see.
Never has a festival been as disappointing as today. The 'car free' was only one small road at the start of which the Dhol Academy was belting out some good stuff (ie loud stuff) to distract from the street art which was nothing like a horse but instead a pile of sand with tiny children crawling all over it. Maybe it was a horse to start with and the 'art' was to unleash 50 kids (average height 1.5 ft each) on it and see what their feet could do to enhance it. I bet some smartie festival organiser thought it would be easier (and much much cheaper) to clear the street by siphoning off the sand in the shoes, clothes and hair of all the little tykes. Let baby shampoo and tub plugholes deal with it.
The market was hardly expanded (face painting stall and unbelievably ugly overpriced art stall do not count) and was so crowded with people looking for those elsuive expansions that we got moved along by sheer sea of humanity.
Olives, feta in chillies, stuffed vine leaves, sun-dried tomato foccacia, lamb megriz and cumberland sausages tucked into our bags (all this is normal fare, nothing added by the so called festival), we decided to lunch at the Coach & Horses, which is a corner pub in the undercover market. Very popular eatery and as a result very overcrowded. We had to share our bench table with two twats who went on (simultaneously) about completely different things to each other; one about diving and the other about his upcoming birthday at Edinburgh; so much so that at one point I wondered if they were part of a conversation with god or just high on something. Here's a sampler:
spiky haired guy 1: I can't believe it's only 170quid for the diving course man
spiky haired guy 2: my birthday party is going to be in Edinburgh in 3 weeks
spiky haired guy 1: I'll be able to go on all these trips before the year is out man
spiky haired guy 2: I think Alisa and Jaime will be there. The party will rock man
V & I ate scrumptuous burgers with fat (truly fat) chips. One of the S's from the S-team had a goats cheese on veggies baked (OK, he said) and the lady-S had a mushroom risotto (horrid campbells soup combined with rice and fried mushrooms).
One book purchase later (Three Junes by Julia Glass) we were home sweet home and a relaxed evening has led me here, to the end of another weekend. All with the disappointing taste of a festival gone awry. Greenwich I love, it's festival I didn't.
The Coach & Horses: 13 Greenwich Market, Greenwich, London, SE10 9HZ; Tel: 020 8293 0880