The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Xochi Balfour Headshot

Not All Those Who Wander are Lost...

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

Not all those who wander are lost...

So says Tolkein, anyway. And wandering and roaming is exactly what we want to do in our rainbo van. To that end, we decided last week to spread our wings and leave Leather Lane behind in search of new horizons and mouths to feed.

We have had an all-hands-on-deck few weeks (we need more hands, two each is not enough), keeping up with growing lunchtime crowds following our exciting inclusion in the ES magazine's top 20 food trucks in London. I had no idea what it would do for sales, but the following week we sold out by 1.30 three days in a row.
Double the queue is very exciting, but also slightly daunting when there are just two of you and everyone is in a rush. You turn your back to tie your shoe laces and by the time you look back around there are ten people lined up and waiting for you to deliver, and the speed at which you have to move to get everyone fed on time with salad, dipping sauce, chopsticks, caramelised peanuts, just the right amount of Malden sea salt sprinkled on the edamame and the correct change is almost superhuman. And making friends along the way further holds you up. By the time we cleaned up and got home I felt as if I had done university finals all over again - only this time the test is one of physical efficiency and agility while my intellect lays largely dormant. 

That is one of the perils of setting up your own food business - your creative energy is in full flow while you perfect your recipes and ponder the font for your logo, but the discerning and structured side of your brain which you spent so long training and refining at university turns to grey mush. To which end I have resolved to read as much as I can (current debate: 50 Shades of Grey versus Leaving Microsoft to Change the World) and try to avoid getting sucked in by Come Dine With Me, slouched on the sofa, and the endless pit of self-loathing that comes with watching it. 

On Friday night we traded at London's great new night market Street Feast, in a disused car park opposite Dalston Junction Station. It is a really lovely event, with a vibrant crowd of friendly, hungry and inquisitive people, great traders, yummy food and ping pong to boot. Add into the mix a huge screen showing the Olympics opening ceremony and you couldn't find a better way to spend a summer London evening. And unlike the London councils and massive mainstream festivals, they ask for a very decent fraction of takings so even if you don't take millions, everybody wins. It makes a big difference knowing that there is a human being running the show and not a giant burgeoning bank account.

And now, for our next mini London-based adventure, we are parked up outside Kings Cross station with other Eat Street traders, as part of the collective's Olympian London-wide feast. We will be here until Wednesday and then we will join the rest of the troupe at Exhibition Road over the weekend.
As I type I can see the male gymnastics on a huge outdoor screen and the temptation to lock up and watch it all evening is almost overwhelming.
I didn't think I cared as much as I should about the Olympics but watching the ceremony on Friday night from the van, as the Queen so bravely launched into the air with James Bond, I was completely overcome with excitement and patriotism. Long may it last!

We do not know where the wind will blow us over the coming weeks but one thing is for sure: London is a very fun place to be right now.