Anti-grumpy investigations – market on a Saturday morning

Effort vs. gain assessment

Effort involved: (low)

Get up, have usual morning beverage of preference, get dressed and walk down the road.

  • Shower is optional (don’t tell anyone I said that)

Gain: (high)

  • Sights: many colourful fruit, veg and flowers
  • Sounds: happy hubbub of people chatting and calling to each other
  • Smells: fruit and vegtables, flowers, a wee bit of pollution (well we do live in Grenoble) and in some cases some interesting fishy smells (ick)


Getting out there

Sometimes it is a huge step to just get motivated to go outside.


On a dreary Saturday morning if one doesn’t have kids or other uncontrollable noise machines that need to be outside at least once every day, one could be tempted to stay inside all day as one knows full well that the world would still turn on its axis.

Market vs. super market – philosophy moment

These days alot of us live in big towns and one’s close friends can live quite faraway and everybody is always very busy.  We also have lots of technology to motivate us to stay inside and spend money.

Between TV/laptop/mobile phone/tablet/facebook etc., it is all so efficient that you could be tempted to think that it is perfectly normal to sit on your ass all day, see nobody and gradually become a huge gelatinous blob due to lack of movement.

don’t need fer nuttin!

If we really wanted to, we could do everything from our desk (food/clothes shopping etc).  So we could go through our days and potentially miss out on the natural smiles/winks and kind comments that are exchanged during a typical outing to the market.  We can so easily miss everyday life in action and  the feeling that we ourselves are an essential part of it.

Once upon a time not too long ago people would have said this type of problem applies to “old” people who are isolated in their own homes. I am tending to think that this applies to everyone now.

I think the French have understood this and this is why they maintain their daily markets…


Market Gym

Then if you are feeling squibbly about rain and snow during the winter, there is the indoor market option at a place like Halles St. Claire in Grenoble.  It is a huge old building which has been there since 1874.  Walking into it feels a bit like when you go to the gym in the depths of winter.  You know that feeling when you enter a bright open space with lots of noise, warmth and movement?


There are lots of possibilities, you can go and have a drink (white wine at 10am if you so wish yessir), or go buy cheese or sausages or fruit &veg or the local ravioli speciality or weird mini tentacly things or whatever..


(spot the tentacle)

Friendly people

And the guys who manage the stands are all really friendly and let you taste stuff if you are a bit uncertain.  It is an energizing experience in fact as it nearly impossible to be grumpy when there is a nice pretty lady in front of you throwing yummy cheese at you.


The only problem I see with the general setup is hoking all your stuff home.  For this you need your trusty “caddy” and a strong individual to hoke it.  For my first few months of caddy ownership I felt like a bit of a strutting granny. Then I thought about it for more than thirty seconds. Most of the grannies I know are very fit, sprightly and hot to trot. And most of the people in france that I knew have one of these yokes.  So I decided to let it happen.


Having said that, we have yet to master the preservation of said caddy.  We are now on our fourth. Sheesh. We keep breaking them.  I really like this one, and I have put in a formal request to himself that we make a combined effort to keep this one intact.  So far we are at 2-1 to me.

Wee anecdote

This Saturday I told himself he could buy me some flowers if he liked.  He raised an eyebrow and said alright then. So I picked out a big bunch of yellow fluffy ones (don’t ask me what they are called – see below).  The guy running the flower stand lovingly wrapped them as if they were forty-eight roses and presented them to me.

Himself then turned around and handed them to me and gave me a wee kiss. (He being French would be prone to the odd romantic moment now and then).


(anybody want to blow my mind and tell me what are they called?)

Fame at last

As himself was paying I was approached by a very young lady of about the same age as me who asked would we mind mutter mutter mumble mumble. I had no clue what she asking and then I realized she was holding a camera and had immortalized the flower giving romance moment and wanted to use it in some photo competition.

I had a quick look, saw that we were tiny and not very visible and said ok on condition that you mail it to us. It is a nice photo and we don’t have that many of the pair of us (nobody seems that interested in taking us in photos for some reason).  Fingers crossed she actually sends it to us.  Fingers also crossed that she doesn’t win the competition and that we find ourselves on some calendar smooching…

Mindfulness moment

Anyway to conclude of the wonderfulness of the market, once you have hoked your stuff home, you can proudly stack it in your kitchen. And this is also a moment of pure pleasure. A pile of bright colourful fruit can provoke the odd mindfulness moment when you least expect it.  Always good.

Then you just have to eat it and for some people (i.e. me) that is a whole different kettle of fish (basket of fruit?) ….



If you are visiting Grenoble, don’t be shy! You can go in and wander around without buying anything…nobody will bat an eyelid. You will get a lovely taste of Grenoble life.  Just don’t stand too long in front of any of the stands or else they will start throwing stuff at you to (literally) taste…


One thought on “Anti-grumpy investigations – market on a Saturday morning”

  1. Sarah
    That was terrific. There’s a lovely market in Málaga. In the centre. Also a market near where I’m living at the moment. I stacked up last Saturday for less than €20 and that included two plants and two towels as well as the fruit and veg.

    Keep writing. It will keep your English flowing and also keep us a in contact.


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