Market Place: Great Yarmouth

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The Independent Culture
Few from outside East Anglia are aware of the natives' yen for Country and Western, but the message resounds loud as a Colt 45 from a couple of the stalls in Yarmouth's large, rectangular marketplace.

Seaside and countryside blend at Yarmouth. The market flourishes in summer, when caravans full of fish and chips, Yarmouth rock, hot doughnuts and tooth-breaking toffee are parked under the newly completed shelters, while the makeshift stalls of market gardeners have to contend with the elements (last week a burning-hot sun). But the most intriguing caravan attracts northern factory workers on their wakes-week holidays. 'Nichol's' tripe stall is for the connoisseur of bovine intestines, selling four types of cow's stomach: reed, jot, weasand and honeycomb; along with chitterling, the pig's interior tubing. Doing better business in fast food is Salmon Enterprises, where nothing but pies and mushy peas is doled out. The green-yellow liquid is served steaming in mugs, to be sprinkled liberally with mint sauce.

Yarmouth market stretches almost up to the 18th-century 'hospital for decayed fishermen'. Workaday clothes, haberdashery, tools and pet foods are snapped up by locals, but the gloriously vile knick-knacks - large spoons with little teddies stuck to them; car stickers of the 'Whoops, I've farted' school of subtlety - belong to the candy-floss world that is forever the English holiday resort.

Phil Harriss

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk; 8am-4.30pm Wed, Sat in winter; Wed, Fri, Sat in summer

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