As we walked down Gloucester Ave from lunch at Regent’s Park Road towards Camden Market, we came across an elderly lady who looked anxious, and completely out of place. She asked us if we could take her downhill to cross the road. M angled his arm instinctively, and she placed a firm grip in the crook of his arm. M started walking her towards the main road and I followed closely behind. With ease and confidence, M struck up a conversation with the elderly lady, and we learnt that she was on her way to her friend’s birthday party. She needed to walk downhill to catch a bus at the main road, but was feeling unconfident as the wind was too strong. As we said goodbye to her at the traffic lights, I couldn’t help but wonder how resilient and independent she is. If I had a headful of grey hair and relied on two walking sticks to get around, I might just prefer staying at home to braving the busy traffic for my friend’s birthday. I couldn’t help but wonder, too, where her family was, or if she had one at all. That’s lesson #1. Now for lesson #2, M taught me something about leading the less ambulant. He had learnt from caregivers and health professionals that one should never lead another by grabbing the dependent. This would have been my instinct; indeed, when I reached out to help the lady, I had wanted to steer her by putting my hand on the back of her upper arm. M intercepted by allowing her to hold onto him instead; this gave her more control. If you notice, this is what tube staff do to help the blind and less ambulant navigate the labryinths in the stations. I decided to put this theory to a test, and closed my eyes while walking towards Camden; true enough, I felt more confident to hang onto M than to have him steer me around. I know this might be a small thing to learn, but I’m rather proud of M for choosing and learning so much from his vocation. He has grown into a much more intuitive, thoughtful and sensitive man than he was before. In fact, sometimes he sheds his seemingly devil-may-care attitude and teaches me to put myself in other people’s shoes when I fail to do so. I wish I could watch him in action when he’s doing his rounds and talking to patients, but I guess I can see a glimpse of his metamorphosis in our lives together. Anyway, enough of my thoughts and let’s get back to the fun day out we had at Camden.
I don’t know if most of you have been to Camden Stables Market, but it really is the place to be when you just want to inspired by sights and smells. Sure, it’s getting a whole lot more commercialised and lots of stalls selling kitsch bric-a-brac have sprouted since a few years before, but there is still something for everyone here. I was particularly drawn to one of the sheltered parts of the Camden Stables (no idea where (although it might be The Arches or Catacombs), because you just get lost in the different sections of the market…), where beautiful paintings, vintage suitcases and hand-painted crockery await. My photos don’t do the vibrance of the Stables any justice here, but weave in and out of the many, many shops here, and you’ll find yourself sucked into the bizarre mix of culture at Camden. We didn’t really venture out to the outdoor parts of the market, the few shops we went to were interesting enough to keep me browsing for the entire afternoon. We have been to Camden so many times, but it’s just impossible to explore every single nook and cranny, oh well, this is an excuse for us to return.
Besides, even if you can’t bring yourself to purchase anything like I did, or browse through every shop, you are bound to see something different here, it is Camden after all. Case in point – check out this couple who were following the footsteps of our newly-minted Duke and Duchess of Cambridge! Now, that’s something you don’t see everyday!
Check this site out to see how you can get to Camden Market!