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such a nasty woman | by maryann johanson

it’s bliss to be up early for…?

Stonehenge at dawn

This morning’s news surfing found me greeted by this headline at The Telegraph:

Pippa Middleton: it’s bliss to be up early for a flower market

She’s discussing the New Covent Garden Flower Market (which is nowhere near Covent Garden):

It’s a place that every Londoner and visitor to the capital ought to experience – but it is one for the larks: 6am to 7am is prime time. Go earlier if you can (traders start packing up from 9am) to get the pick of the bunches. On the plus side the early rise means you get to see the city in the small hours, when the streets are sleepy and you can burn over the bridges. Be warned, it’s not warm in the market at sparrow o’clock at any time of year. The entrance fee is £5 if you bring a car, and you can park right outside. First impressions are underwhelming: there is no hint of colour or fragrance in the grim industrial surroundings – but step through the swinging doors and you enter an Aladdin’s cave of horticultural treasures.

Flowers of every hue fill every corner, aisles abound with foliage and shrubbery and the air is deliciously perfumed. In bunches, boxes and buckets, the variety is breathtaking: the florist’s favourite, traditional hybrid tea roses, are available in every possible shade – I love the sophisticated pastel ‘Quicksand’. Other favourites are the delicate nigella, or love in a mist, Golden Shower orchids, pots of mind-your-own-business, ‘Casa Blanca’ lilies and chincherinchee (also known as star of Bethlehem).

It sounds similar to stories I’ve heard about visiting New York’s legendary Fulton Fish Market in the predawn hours… if perhaps somewhat more pleasantly aroma’d.

What your predawn treat? It’s bliss to be up early for…?

The two times I (and my BFF bronxbee) got up in the middle of the night to drive from Stratford-upon-Avon to Stonehenge in order to be there for sunrise have been some of the most memorable days of my life, whatever time of day. (The photo above is from my first visit on September 29, 2008… five years ago tomorrow.)

As an everyday event, though, being up early is not my most favorite thing ever. Though perhaps it is to you…

(If you have a suggestion for a Question, feel free to email me.)

  • Rod Ribeiro

    Anything but work. Or anything including work if you can leave early too.

  • Steve Gagen

    The most magical morning I’ve experienced is dawn over the Grand Canal in Venice, after arriving very early one morning on an overnight train. Mist was lying on the water, there were no tourists, but the people who keep the place running were up and about delivering vegetables and milk in boats and on hand-carts.
    Dawn in Snowdonia park was also pretty good! We’d arrived late at night, and pitched our tent in a field in the pitch dark, using torches to see what we were doing. Next morning, when the sun came up, it revealed the most beautiful mountain and lake scenery imaginable!

  • Steve Gagen

    One more thing – when I was a child, Covent Garden market WAS at Covent Garden. If you went there about 4.00 am, there was an interesting mix of early market people and late-night revellers! Now of course it’s at Nine Elms – which used to be a huge rail freight depot, where my friends and I used to go train-spotting!

  • Froborr

    Bliss… to be up EARLY…? Does not compute…

  • Chloe

    Sunrise on Mount Haleakala on Maui, Hawaii. You’re around 10,000 ft. up the mountain and get to see the sun rise through the clouds. Truly spectacular and well worth the almost two-hour drive to get to the lookout.

  • Jurgan

    Taking the GRE. Now I play the waiting game to see how I did…

  • Rob

    When I lived in NYC, I loved getting up extremely early exactly twice a year, and that was to get in line early for tickets to the two Shakespeare in the Park plays each summer. I’d go with my partner and some friends, bring a blanket, pillows, books, magazines, some board games, food, and drinks, and just camp out there in Central Park till the tickets were handed out at 1 PM. Often the waiting in line for the tickets was more fun than the play itself (the only ticket lines that are actually fun, and only if you bring the right things and people with you), particularly if it wasn’t raining and wasn’t too hot. But some of my best NY memories were on those lines.

  • RogerBW

    I got up early to watch the transit of Venus last year (mostly cloudy, but caught a glimpse). Though since I work from home, anything before 9am is “early”…

  • Bluejay

    The morning after a heavy snowfall. I love walking around before it all turns to footprints and sludge.

  • Kathy_A

    That’s a great picture! I wish I had gotten up for sunrise or sunset at the Ring of Brodgar when I was in Orkney last year, but we never got over there at the right time.
    I was on vacation in Bar Harbor, Maine last month, and on our first morning there, I set my alarm for 5:15 am and got up to take pictures of the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean from our balcony (Mom splurged on the hotel, which was totally worth it for the service and the view overlooking Frenchman’s Bay!). The photos I took were amazing, and it was incredible not just watching the sun rise, but also to see the ocean go from incredibly flat and calm to these little ripples rolling in as the hour progressed (low tide had been at 4:30).

  • I have to get up at 5;30 every day for work, which is most definitely not bliss.
    For this reason I generally avoid getting up early any other day.
    My wife is a runner, and to support her I have gotten up at insanely early times on weekend mornings. She ran the Chicago Marathon a couple years ago, and, of course, we got up when it was still quite dark out.

    So, after seeing her off, my son and I perched on a hill and watched the sun rise over Lake Michigan. Pretty darn cool, I must say.

    Because of her I also found myself at the Morton Arboretum(amazing place) super early, and watched the sun rise over their little lake, with mist and everything. It was stunning!

  • Kathy_A

    I grew up in Joliet, so the Morton Arboretum was a frequent school-trip destination, as well as the occasionally weekend drive with the family. Love that place!

  • Born and raised Jolietan right here! I still live here, actually, for good or bad.
    *high fives*

  • Kathy_A

    Ha!! That’s awesome! I was born at St Joes, actually grew up in Shorewood, and my moms family have been there so long that Larkin Ave is named for my great uncles, whose farms stretched along that road before Joliet expanded that far west after WWII.

    ::high fives back::

  • Rebecca Dalmas

    I’m not a morning person, although I love the exhilaration of getting up to catch a flight…the hustle and bustle of the airport, going somewhere far, of clicking off all the minutiae as done and finished. I also love getting up to laughter, something good to eat and snuggling. One of life’s infinite blisses.

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