The Coin Street Turkish Festival was as loud, hot and tasty as it was last year though a little smaller as it only occupied the Bernie Spain Gardens this year and did not stretch out along the river walk, making everything seem twice as crowded and three times as hot. No one in the upbeat crowd seemed to mind -
- families with dozing small children, old ladies in black head scarves and hip young things in skimpy outfits shared picnic blankets, plates of sticky baklava and cool watermelon. There was roaring trade at the kebab stands - queues wound across the grass in long, eager lines and everyone sympathised with the guys tending the white-hot smoking grills on a scorching hot Sunday such as this one.
Chaps could have a quick (and very close) shave before hitting the dance floor where all the pretty girls were dancing ecstatically to some upbeat Turkish pop from the specially-flown in live band on stage. Lots of arms went up in the air and lots of jaws hit the ground when the stunning belly dancers took the floor.
The festival turned the Thames into a little piece of the Bosphorous: festival-goers paddled in the water with the Turkish flags moving lazily in the little breeze to be had and the sand of the Thames beach looking unbelievably clean and white...
...there were beaded things and shiny things and pretty blue glass things to buy, Turkish Cola and Turkish beer and Turkish biscuits, sweets, CDs and DVDs to be bought from the market stalls. It didn't feel like London at all and even though we love this city, that was the best thing about this festival afternoon. Looking forward to the next one already.