Somehow or other I found on the internet that Loughborough hosted a French Market on Fridays so on a whim we jumped in Thistle and went to Loughborough.
Loughborough is to the south of Long Eaton within the Charnwood borough of Leicestershire, England. It is the seat of Charnwood Borough Council and is home to Loughborough University. In fact when visiting the town it is hard to know which came first the University or the town. It is second in size to the city of Leicester. Before going I checked Wikipedia and found that the town has the world’s largest bell foundry — John Taylor Bellfounders, which made the bells for the Carillon war memorial, a landmark within the Queens Park in the town, Great Paul for St. Paul’s Cathedral, and York Minster. Loughborough has for more than a century been the home of John Taylor & Co bell founders and the firm has a museum—the Bellfoundry Museum—located on two floors telling the story of bell making over the centuries. The River Soar passes by to the east of the town.
The sun was shining promising a glorious English day. We found a parking station and made our way to the markets. Loughborough has developed the main St Cattle Street into a mall and here we got more than we bargained for. There is an antiques market every Friday and the French market is once per month and they both set up in the mall. Well like most antiques markets the word “antiques” is used very loosely. But there were many stalls with curiosities. We browsed through the stalls and when we got to the end there were the French market stalls operated by French people living in the area. Well Kerry found the nut shop then the Turkish delight shop and so we had nuts and Turkish delight for the next week. There were a number of stalls cooking in what looked like paella dishes and the aroma was wonderful. I found a stall cooking a cheesy potato dish and what appeared to be a prawn stir fry. It was 10.30am too earlier for lunch so we agreed we would return for lunch. I cannot say too much more because we did some Xmas shopping and it is a secret.
The town has gone to a lot of effort to turn its alley ways into shopping precincts so we had fun finding our way through it all. Indirectly we were looking for a particular shop providing all the bits and pieces for making jewellery. I cannot say anything more about that either except to say we ultimately fell into the shop. Our exploration also uncovered a new ultramodern shopping precinct. You have to wonder how all these shops survive. I was salivating waiting for lunch so all I could think about was tucking into the garlic prawns and the cheesy potato. Time seemed to be crawling but of course lunchtime arrived and I scurried back to the stall in the French sector of the markets to purchase lunch. With one bowl of prawns and one of potato we sat on the benches in the mall and tucked into the hot delights. The sunny morning was becoming grey, windy, cold, and wet. And the hot delights left me a little disappointed. The prawns were in fact a fish composite moulded to look like prawns. Ah well it wasn’t too bad and the potato was lovely and creamy with bacon pieces through it.
We then strolled a little more passing the Fireworks store. Guy Fawkes Night was fast approaching and the Brits celebrate the day with bon fire, guys and lots of fireworks (like we used to before the authorities decided we are too stupid to handle fireworks and banned the retail sale of them).
The weather had turned distinctly unwelcoming so we found a coffee shop where we hoped to let it pass over us. After about an hour of supping coffee and reading the newspaper things were not getting better so we cut the day short and headed home.