Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Of gazebos, tents and wake up calls

I had my first two-day outdoor event on the weekend. My son, who usually accompanies me to all the fairs and is my wonderful helper, was somewhat put off by the fact that I wanted to camp instead of driving back and forth every day, especially as we were setting up on Friday which meant TWO nights in a tent, with mum, shock horror. He perked up a little when I bribed him with a promised outing to his favourite oriental buffet restaurant next week, and came along more or less willingly.

We left Friday afternoon, and arrived at the venue after an hour's drive. There were quite a few people setting up already. First things first, we found ourselves a nice sheltered spot for the tent, and actually managed to get it set up without too much swearing. Aaaah, a tent, it brought back happy memories of our windsurfing days, when we used to load up my little Mini with a large tent, folding table and two chairs, windsurfing gear, clothes, food and a huge old windsurfer, mast, boom and sail on the roof rack, and drive all over England to the championship meetings. Those were the days, sigh, before the arrival of the kids. I am still amazed how that little car coped with all that.

So, once the tent was up, we found our plot and set up the gazebo. It was a doddle, probably because my darling son and husband had practiced the setting up beforehand, lol. Thank goodness for that, because I am not all that brilliant with things like that. The stock did stay in the boxes though, as there were storm warnings for the night, and we got quite inventive when it came to making the gazebo storm safe, lol! I am not going into details, lets just say it involved luggage straps, bungee cords and additional tent pegs. Hmm.

The organisers were really lovely, made sure we were happy and also told us about the two pubs in the nearby village, which cheered my son up enormously. We also had some very nice lads camping a little ways away from us, who were also off to the village pub, so really, we couldn't be antisocial and not go, right? Boy, did we get a surprise when we turned up at the pub! The pub itself was huge, lots of higgledypiggledy rooms and a huge pub garden, and it was all jam packed with people! Hundreds of people! We had no idea that there were huge celebrations going on. They had Morris dancers! Now I really do love watching Morris Dancers, it is such a wonderfully quirky tradition, and what made it even more special, apart from the local Morris Dancers they also had a group of Lady Morris dancers from OUR home town! The atmosphere was just fantastic, and when they started a singalong after the Morris Dancing, everybody joined in and got quite carried away with the old favourites. We left about 10.30 as we knew we would have an early start, but what a lovely evening that was. Such a shame that I didn't have my little camera with me.

The tent was, well, cosy, lol, but we slept surprisingly well, until about 4am that was, when the cockerels started to greet the day very noisily, only to be joined by the donkeys not much later. An alarm clock is nothing compared to a couple of donkeys, lol. We gave up at 6am and just got up, got ourselves ready and then wombled over to our gazebo, which had survived the night very well. We took it nice and easy, had a bit of breakfast, unpacked the boxes and then just enjoyed the sunshine for a little while.

The first day brought a steady stream of people past the stalls. I just love it when people enthuse about my products and I so enjoy chatting to them about it all. Thats why I love doing these fairs, the personal contact is so important to me. I might not make hundreds and hundreds of ££ profits when the stall fees are so high, but as long as all costs are covered and at least some proper profit is made, then its all worth it. I had taken a few of my antique and vintage fabricy things along as well, as I had the space in the gazebo, and that was definitely a good move. It was great sellling some of those things as well.

I didn't get a chance to look at anything else really during the first day, not any of the other 100+ stalls nor the animals, but we did have a womble past some of the animals after the craft fair closed for the day, visitors had all gone and most stall holders had also departed for the day. It was a beautiful evening again, very serene actually, when it was just my son and myself wandering about. We packed away the stock again ( didn't want to get it wet with the heavy morning dew ), secured the gazebo and relaxed by the tent. Actually, we were too pooped to do much, lol, we kinda looked at each other and decided we couldn't be bothered to go to the pub, we just munched on the stuff we had brought with us.

We had very much the same scenario with the animals waking us up very early, but I really didn't mind. It was a very misty morning, and all those marquees and gazebos looked slightly unreal in the mist, but it was magical in a way as well. There is something quite beautiful about walking about very early in the morning, when everything is deserted and the sun only just filters through the mist.

There were definitely more people walking about on Sunday, but business had definitely been better on the Saturday. Still, at least it gave me a chance to leave my son in charge for a few mins and have a look at a few other stalls. I couldn't get away long enough to watch the pig race though, but my son did manage to take a few pics. It must have been quite something, going by the laughter and shrieks I could hear from the crowds watching.

We got home tired and somewhat achy on Sunday night, and it did take me all day Monday to sort of recover from the weekend, but I loved it, and even my darling son had a good time, despite his occasional moans! I'll definitely do it again next year.


jennyflower said...

Aww that sounds fun! I hope my boy hangs out with me when he's old enough to put up a tent and come to the pub. Don't supose you fancy a trip to sunny Kent on the 11th do you? Another chance to air your gazeebo?

Lululiz said...

Somebody else mentioned the makey-do on the 11th to me, they thought it would be great! Alas, I have already committed myself to another fair on that date, what a shame. Do let me know though if and when there is another makey-do in the future!

Anonymous said...


Mom E. said...

You used to go windsurfing???? How fun! I always wanted to windsurf, but never got the chance. I water ski and snow ski, or DID, but never wind surfing. When we drive to Portland, we travel through the Columbia River Gorge and there is a place that is very well loved for wind surfing...oh, to be young again....