Don't worry, not recuperating from swine flu, just recovering from a very hectic weekend. I tell ya, outdoor fairs are, lets say, interesting, lol. We had a two day fair booked this weekend, and although the event had been held for many years, it was all completely new because it was at a different venue. So, I thought perhaps it might be a good idea to set up the day before.
We decided just to take the gazebo, no stock, for a quick in and out. Yeah, right, lol. The venue was enormous, we are talking square miles, lol, absolutely HUGE, and not exactly flat, in fact you could have held a dozen or two simultaneous ski jumping events there, if there had been snow of course. Also, it felt like driving over corrugated iron, lol, my poor car was making very strange noises. Plus, the wheat (?) had only been cut 3 days before, so it was definitely trainers and long trousers, otherwise you could have gotten prickled like crazy by the stalks.
As soon as we got there in the morning, we were shooed into a field and told to wait until they found out where to put us. Errrmmmm. Ok. We parked the car, toddled off to where we could see tents, marquees and gazebos going up, and were slightly surprised to see that everything was extremely higgledypiggledy, there were no marked out pitches, no rows, people were setting up, it seemed, all over wherever they fancied and with huge empty spaces between them. Back to the car again, check with the organisers, still no news where to set up. An hour later, same thing, give us another 5 mins, bla bla bla. Sigh. At last, 1 1/2 hours after arriving we were finally told where we could go, so we put up the gazebo, made it safe, and made our escape.
Saturday morning was lovely. We were absolutely amazed at how things had changed, the whole site was a hive of activity, the empty spaces were filling up somewhat, although still very haphazardly, and there was a really good buzz in the air. People started pouring in nice and early, although as the grounds were so vast, it took a couple of hours before it actually looked busy. I had no idea how vast the place actually was until I had a quick womble about. There was a whole Red Indian village, an area set aside for the helicopter rides, arenas for the demonstrations ( shire horses, dancing horses, birds of prey ), vintage tractors galore, an oldfashioned fun fair for the little ones, loads of traders, huge charity marquees, beer tent, refreshments, a large stage for the band.... just so many things to see and take part in, and no time to see/do it all. I took loads of photos during my quick womble. I'll post some more on my lululizinlalaland blog later and will put the rest on photobucket, there are way way way too many to put on a blog, lol, but here are a couple of the gazebo -
Some of my vintage bits and pieces -
Sales were good, customers were not exactly queuing up, but there was a steady flow and things were going well until about 2ish in the afternoon, when the heavens opened. OMG, you have never seen so much mud! It didn't take long to turn the whole site into a quagmire. We were right opposite the beer tent, which, not surprisingly, was jam packed within seconds of the rain starting. Our gazebo only has two sides, but we had some plastic dust sheets with us. You would have creased up watching us frantically trying to use the plastic sheets to cover another side, lolol, it must have been quite hilarious. But it make the gazebo quite cosy. We had dragged a hay bale into it as well ( basically to weigh down the bottom of the plastic sheet wall, lol ), which made an excellent seat, and we spent a couple of hours in there, with the occasional very brave customer strolling in. Packing up in the pouring rain is not fun, and we got absolutely soaked securing the gazebo in case it got stormy during the night, as the forecast was not very good. It was looooooooovely to get home, have a nice cup of tea and a bath.
It rained, A LOT, during the night, and although Sunday morning looked lovely and sparkling and promising, I had a very bad feeling about the show, remembering how many cars and vans had gotten stuck trying to get out of the field the afternoon before. And that was just after 2 or 3 hours of rain! So it was with some slight trepidation that we drove to the fair. Quite frankly I was VERY worried. Not without good reason, it turned out. The sort of lane which had been flattened out for traffic to get through the first field into the site proper was impassable. We had to drive right across the "corrugated iron" field and then park up, while they were " trying to sort out a few things ". This was just before 9 with the fair scheduled to open at 10. So we left the car, and tried to get to our gazebo. OMG, I was having kittens just trying to walk through the very slippery mud, down the slopes and up the slopes, it was a nightmare. At least we could get the gazebo all ready for whenever we were allowed to or rather able to bring the car up with the stock.
Finally people were given the go ahead to try and get the cars/vans/lorries to where the pitches were. OH BOY! Cars and vans were getting stuck all over the place, tractors were towing goodness knows how many, lol. The main "lane" was impassable for anything other than the toughest 4 wheel drive mean machines and tractors, so once again it was right across a field, down the slope, and up the slope, which was VERY scary, with wheels spinning and sliding, and the occasional push required from my darling son. But we made it.
I had dreadful visions of the general public coming in and slipping and falling all over the place in all that churned up mud, but, quite miraculously, within an hour or so the wonderful sunshine started drying out the ground quite nicely and by lunchtime it was almost back to normal! Hurrah! It was a glorious day, blue skies, sunshine, what seemed like thousands of people, and a great day for sales as well. The atmosphere was fabulous, I loved being there, I just wished I had had a little bit more time to have a look around myself. I did manage to pick up a couple of gorgeous things though, more of that on the other blog. As it was, my darling son did all the looking for me, lol, I hardly saw him that day, there was just so much for him to watch and do. The highlight of his day was when he had his photo taken with an EAGLE on this wrist!!! What an experience that was. A word of warning, never let your son loose with a camera, lol, he took well over 300 pics ( mostly of the dancing horses, oh, and the "fit bird" riding one of them, lol ). How on earth am I going to decide which ones to keep, which ones to delete, and which ones to post???
So, all in all, it was a fabulous weekend, good atmosphere, good sales, really really enjoyable. Once again, sales were a good mixture of soaps and skincare products, a bit of most things really, plus I had to part with quite a few of the vintage things I had taken along. But they all went to really good homes and very appreciative new owners.
Just a few general pics -
Red Indian village
Look at these beautiful creatures -
One of the dancing horses and "fit bird"
This owl was the most gentle creature, we stroked it, and it didn't mind at all, but look at those eyes!
And this is the majestic eagle Nick had on his wrist -