Borough Market, London

Borough Market is under the arches leading in to London Bridge Station, and this trader was hawking snacks and decent fast food, like wild boar sausages and hare. I couldn’t work out what the heck he was calling out when I was there and I still can’t work out what his exhortation is.

At  the beginning of the track there is the shrill call of starlings. I was chuffed, because something really bad has happened to London’s birdlife over the last thirty years, as many once common birds are common no more. There used to be thousands of starlings in London, there was an enormous roost at Charing Cross station decades ago.

Most tragically, the humble house sparrow seems to have surrendered the fight. As a child growing up in London they were everywhere, in the parks you could sometimes see some old boy feeding hundreds, in the ways tourists feed the sparrows outside Notre Dame in Paris.You’d walk past the hedges in suburban London and be chided with the peremptory chirp of a house sparrow. No more – in the last three decades the chirp has fallen silent as the cockney sparrows have abandoned the city. Central London is now pretty much a bird-free zone apart for the ubiquitous pigeon.

Starlings have also abandoned the city, so it was a treat to hear their call. Perhaps these have worked their way up the river, for Borough market is near the river at London Bridge.