Norwich Market has been held in the same place since the Normans arrived in Norfolk. Nowadays it's a permanent market, open six days a week under striped awnings. From above, it looks like an enormous, regular huddle of beach huts, and on the ground it's full of people, wares, food and flowers.
In the square where they have been doing this sort of thing for centuries, I came across the best fruit & veg stand since we lived in Germany and Belgium (where they do markets properly and we shopped at them every single week). Mike, Debs and Sons have a beautiful display, but just as good is their range of locally grown produce. Autumn is a great time to buy there because they have big Norfolk onions, fresh Norfolk purple sprouting broccoli, lime-green Norfolk romanesco, Norfolk red potatoes and lots more Norfolk delights including wet walnuts which are a rare autumnal treat (ie fresh and muddy-looking but in fact not, and with a lovely mild texture and flavour).
They are also selling brilliantly dirty Fenland celery in which the dirtiness adds value. I travelled home with a bag of wet walnuts, and a bundle of cavolo nero (even this veg made famous by the River Cafe is grown in Norfolk and costs a fraction of what it would at Borough Market in London) and an enormous head of celery with part of its root base and lots of rich, black Norfolk soil still attached. Today I opened up the newspaper to find a great article on this speciality. (Of course, Waitrose wash their Fenland celery before putting it out, something which amuses Mike and Debs no end.)
It's an absolute joy to come across market traders who know their onions.
Tonight we shall be enjoying what I brought back, and agreeing with George Eliot who said, "Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns". We shall also be reflecting how much better every autumn would be if all towns had greengrocers who stocked fruit & veg from local growers and sold it without ridiculous supermarket packaging and prices.
And here's a wonderful autumnal painting by a local painter currently on display in the Norwich Castle Art Gallery (Mike and Debs no doubt do a good line in russet apples):
[Apples in an Overturned Basket (1890s) Eloise Harriet Stannard]
One more thing. If you are in or near Norwich, do go to see the Masterpieces exhibition. It's amazing. One of the best I've ever been to.