Naked in Walthamstow :0)

The following piece was written as part of a course I never finished back when my children were little ( I reckon about 14 years ago!)

I just found it and thought I would share as I like being playful with words too :0)


The sky was a piercing blue, the sunshine bright and just a few blobs of grey clouds scattered here and there.  I pull my coat tighter as the frosty breeze blows around my neck.

The bus arrives and I get on, the warmth is like a blast as I take my seat. I feel the heightened strength of the sun through the window and am very aware of the sights and sounds around me.  I notice the people outside standing at bus stops as we pass by. They are hugging themselves to feel warm whilst I feel the perspiration on my hands.  I notice the loosening of coats and gloves as people get on the bus and the tightening of scarves when they get off.  The rustling of tickets and the chink of change, I must hear it all of the time but am awakened as if it were a new sound.  The humming of the bus’s engine is constant but lost in the background.  As I get off my bus I am immediately aware of my nakedness.  Not of clothes, you must understand, but the freedom of my hands.  No children to usher off or buggies to fight with.  All I have with me is a carrier bag; a child’s suit I’d bought earlier that needs changing.

I’m at the bottom of the Walthamstow Market, (though some may call it the top!), outside a pizza parlour.  There are several motorbikes parked, scooters really, with large L plates attached and a bunch of pigeons trying to lunch on a piece of toast.

It is fairly quiet at this end apart from the buzzing of radios.  A market stall holder selling fruit is chatting to an elderly lady whilst caressing the juicy peaches that lay out in front of him.

As I dawdle, I overhear the chatter of two rather well to do women behind me.  They are discussing where they would like to go to have something to eat.

In a large space there is one lone flower stall.  A well wrapped woman sits on an empty, upturned bucket with her arms and legs crossed.  She is chatting to another woman who is upright and stamping her feet as her jaw works.

I cannot see where it comes from but the laughter of a child is carried on the breeze and floats past my ears, it is interrupted by the clanging and banging of a burly man pulling bundles of material somethings in a large, squeaky, cage-like contraption on wheels.

Lunchtime in the public house I pass is busy and when I peep inside I notice the people inside are mainly male. I can hear jeering and male laughter being shared, though I have no clue as to what might have caused the sounds to be made.

I feel as if I am moving in a different time zone as I stroll along and am shoved from one side to the other as people bustle and hurry about.  There are people carrying bags, pushing trollies or buggies, surveying stall goods as they go, children grabbing a look into a shop window as they scurry along, trying half-heartedly to catch up with an irate adult.

The higher up the market I go, the thicker the crowds become, the more shops and stalls.  I feel as if I am being eased into the fast-moving madness of shoppers.

Certain activities catch my attention fleetingly, I am not sure why.  There are two ladies stood at a stall, I don’t see their wares only the steaming cups clutched in their hands.  A man’s voice complains about the cost of some merchandise or other.  My ears buzz with the yell of a male stall holder, passing greetings.  The smell of an open butchers shop hits my nostrils and makes me think of my stomach.  The man cleaning the windows of Icelands is in a t-shirt, is he mad??? It’s freezing out here!!!

A pigeon flies by a woman walking towards me, just catching a few strands of her hair on its way.  She jumps and her female companion laughs.

I hear a deep, husky voice, “4lb of clementine’s’ a pound Mum?” As my eyes make contact with the owner of the voice I wonder how he knows.  Is it a guess or do I look Mumsie?  My thoughts stray again and my attention is drawn to a man crossing the road.  He has dark sunglasses on and his hand is attached to a white stick that appears to have a life of its own!  A baby’s head bouncing next to the chest of a woman with purple hair and a pierced lip; reminds me to find the stall where I’d bought the baby suit I am clinging onto.

Also seemingly oblivious to the passing of time a dust cart being pushed lazily by a guy in a bright yellow jacket; a stark contrast to the smart business-like man yakking into a mobile phone that is almost skipping along and almost crashes into me.

I am brought to an almost standstill as the thickening crowds seem to close in around me, smoke from someone’s cigarette wafts past and tickles my nose.  As I notice the coldness of my hands I stop outside a fishmonger to rub my numb fingers back to life.  I am not keen on the stench of the fish but I like the song being blasted out on the radio, ‘Rise’ by Gabrielle.

I continue on slowly and a rather tall being strides past with their flowing blonde hair and tattoos smothering both arms, as I stop to wonder about the gender of the being I am almost squashed by a wheelchair, a bike and a double buggy!  I come to the conclusion that having your eyes on pen and paper at this point could be most harmful to your health!

People don’t seem to be able to decide on the season as they have their sunglasses perched on their noses and woolly hats covering their ears.

My nakedness is made apparent to me again as I watch a small child trying to escape from a buggy whilst ‘Mum’ is engrossed at a handbag stall.

I spot the stall I am looking for, there is a short, plump couple standing there.  I manage to exchange the suit; I place it in my carrier bag and decide it is time to go home.  I am cold, hungry and tired of being naked now!