A terrorist attack anywhere in the world should fill us with horror – in Kabul, Baghdad or Sousse, just as much as in Manchester, London or Birstall. But when it is in a place where we find ourselves at least once a week, and a place that we associate with doing what we love, the rawness and the sense of pain can only be that much more acute. Borough Market is, of course, a different place in the evenings and the traders would not have been in their usual spots, but we have also eaten frequently in the restaurants and bars around the market.
It may seem invidious to single out the victims of one attack over another, but this is a food blog and Borough Market is something of spiritual home for many people interested in food in London. Even if we now do more of our shopping at Bermondsey Spa Terminus, that is still an offspring of Borough Market. And even if we complain, uncharitably, about the market feeling more like a theme park on a Saturday, that’s because of its massively important role in introducing more people to food as it should be. In any case, we have taken countless visitors to show them ‘our’ market over the years.
The Richard Bramble print above was given to us by some dear friends as a wedding present, a symbol of the part that Borough Market has played in our lives. It hangs in our kitchen, usually bringing joy and happy thoughts about the food we are cooking. Yesterday and today, it has felt more like a symbol of remembrance. It will continue to remind us to grieve for the victims; to remember the injured and the families affected; to admire and appreciate the civilian heroes, the police, the paramedics and the NHS; to stand with those for whom the market, its stalls and restaurants is a livelihood; and to feel anger at the attack (and at the terror-fuelling idiocy of those who seek to capitalise on it). But it also seems to represent hope, resilience and our sense of looking forward to being there again at the weekend if not before.
At today’s vigil, Sadiq Khan said so much so eloquently. “Your perverse ideology has nothing to do with the true values of Islam. You will never succeed in dividing our city.” And so on Saturday, it will be business as usual: fish from Sussex Fish, last bits of fruit and veg from Paul Wheeler or Ted’s Veg, store cupboard bits and bobs from Spice Mountain, cured meats from Gastronomica, chorizo from Brindisa. What a privilege to have these traders on our doorstep. The reminders of the horror will remain, and the market may well become synonymous with attacks in the way of, say, Tavistock Square, but Borough Market, like all London, will sustain and the result of terror will be make the market, the city and us all stronger.