If you are ever in Southwark, London SE1, which is where the London Dungeons are, you must take a stroll down Hays Galleria. Go straight out of London Bridge underground station, right down Tooley Street for about seven minutes before you see the entrance to the Galleria on your left.
With lofty iron arches and a weird ironboat water feature, there are small shops and cafes that lead right down to the River Thames. Wondering back towards London Bridge tube, I stumbled across a traditional cream ‘barrow’ style flower seller in the Galleria setting up her stall.
Hi, nice to see you here!” I said, “Oh thank you,” she said and told me her name was Melanie.
“How long have your been working here,” I said, “I haven’t seen you here before.”
“Well, I’m here for the first time, it’s a trial run as I’m trying to persuade Hays Galleria to set me up here permanently. There’s nothing like this here and there is a real demand for it, I sell out all the bouquets I make up,” she enthused.
Melanie posed while a passing tourist took her photograph. “Do you like flowers?” she asked, “I like roses”, I replied. I watched as she plucked and cut and arranged while we chatted. “I do hope it goes well for you, it’s great to see a traditional seller here!”
I took her photo and she handed me a beautiful bouquet, comprised of two white roses, a peach one and yellowy-red tight-lipped tulips.
“A gift for you!” she said smiling.
I smiled too, all the way home – even on the heaving tube.
© Suzy Rigg