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I love the flower markets. They are a whole other world. And they make me think of My Fair Lady.

I drive past them every day when I go to work, but it’s usually already too late for flowers by that time; they get started early. But today I woke up at 5am and couldn’t get back to sleep so decided to go to work early…which meant it was perfect flower-shopping time! You’ve got to be confident to drive into the Sydney Markets. There are trucks, forklifts, utes and other assorted vehicles all swarming around. The markings on the road are really just suggestions. You’ve just got to be patient and remember that the people who basically live and breathe this place have right of way…and keep your eyes open because you never know when someone will step or drive out in front of you.

 I actually just like wandering around the markets, even without buying anything (though I always buy something). The sheer abundance of flowers of all kinds is just so joyful. The vendors are mostly men, unshaven, no-nonsense. The buyers by 6am are mostly women, many obviously buying for weddings. There is a quartet of old Italian men sitting at a table, ignoring the activity swirling around them, playing cards.

After walking up and down all the aisles to see what’s available, and becoming almost overwhelmed with choice, I just decide to go with what pleases me the most. There are also plenty of cheap bunches for sale – small, unscented roses for $4 a bunch, riots of gerberas for $3 a bunch, but I’m feeling like more decadent blooms. I choose two bunches of beautiful cream, pink-tipped roses with an incredibly heady scent. At another stall I buy two bunches of purple dahlias, a flower which will always remind me of my grandfather, who grew them in his garden. It costs me about $30 all up. What a wonderful start to the day!