Well, that was the weekend that was. A busy old few days to be fair, and your friendly hobbit bloggist needed a bit of a slow day yesterday to recover, hence the tardiness of this weeks post.
So why so busy? Well, Wednesday was, as usual, a day spent at the Farm…occasionally stirring the pot…occasionally filling large numbers of empty bottles…but mostly fighting with my nemesis that is the labelling machine.
I have discovered a new condition – Bottler’s Thumb. This is caused by many, many twiddles of bottles on the labeller causing some of the ink from the heat-shrunk caps to rub off on my hands, making it look like I’ve been fingerprinted by the rozzers. It weren’t me Guv, you can’t prove it, I weren’t there, besides it was some geezer from Peckham what dunnit…
Trading wise it was a case of TCH on Tour – three events, none of them in Wiltshire. Thursday was a visit to my old professional stomping ground at Temple Quay in Bristol. Some former team members popped along to say hello, which was much appreciated (hello Nick & Jonathon!) and a pleasant market was spent observing the huge queues at the hot food stalls. It was a bit slow, but I know from personal experience that the Thursday before Easter can be a bit quiet in the offices there.
Saturday saw me in Nunney (which still sounds like a Sarah Millicanism to me) for a craft fayre. Nice place, lovely people, no-one came…luckily I had the foresight to take a book with me! The best bit of the day came with a Dark Ghost chocolate eating competition – Sefy and Josh bought a bar and had a race to see who could eat their 50g bar the fastest, and more importantly with the least show of heatstroke. As you can see from the pics below Sefy won. Josh had a few tears in his eyes (I don’t think it was the emotion of the defeat) – and hence had to eat the lollipop of shame to recover from the heat 🙂
The Pink Chilli Hobbit was at Sherston’s lovely market on Saturday – a very pleasant event, frequented by plenty of Easter Egg hunters from the event next door! Martin and Jane always run a lovely, friendly market and despite it not being a huge event in terms of sales we just love doing it. The one thing we’ve found out since we’ve started doing markets is that it’s hard work, physically quite demanding, but it’s also really lovely to meet people and sell stuff we believe in, often in lovely settings such as Sherston. It somehow doesn’t feel like a proper job, even though it seems to keep us busy 24/7.
My first big event of the year was on Sunday and Monday, the Thame Country Show in Oxfordshire. This was a much bigger event than anything else I’ve done before and I learnt a few things as a result:
- a 4 metre wide pitch is quite a lot of space to fill up
- the day goes amazingly quickly when you’re busy
- hobbits can last surprising lengths of time between comfort breaks
- Thame likes Chipotle Chilli Salt and Hellish Habanero
I was next to a pie/pasty/sausage roll/pork scratching seller who was very friendly, but who spoke auctioneer-speed East End frontier gibberish that left me completely baffled for much of the time. He could have been a time traveller giving me hot tips on tomorrows races for all I know, but frankly I didn’t have a bloody clue what he was saying half the time. I suspect he thought much the same of my West Country tractorese.
The biggest shock to me was a bit of a reality check, and a sign that nothing is sacred. All us traders keep a close eye on our stock ‘just in case’, and the vast, vast majority of visitors to events are as honest as the day is long. Those of you that have visited my stall will know that I keep a supply of lollipops to hand out to small children/single women/people that need relief after trying the hot stuff. I give them away for free. I gave loads away for free over the two days in Thame. So I was rather disgusted to find that, halfway through Monday afternoon, some larcenous scrote had stolen the jar with my remaining lollipops in it. Now I will repeat – I give them away free – yet some lowlife had seen fit to scarper with the jar. It’s not often that I’m lost for words, but for a period after discovering the Great Thame Lollipop Robbery I was just a bit flabbergasted. Of course the words I was then capable of using are not fit for publication in a family blog such as this, but you can guess a few of them I’m sure. Don’t think I’ll be submitting an insurance claim though!
Looking forward (a looong way forward) I’m pleased to say that our application for Salisbury Christmas Market has been accepted. This is the single biggest event of the year for me, and will entail 24 days trading in a row in a chalet in Guildhall Square. I’m really, really chuffed to have got in and am already looking forward to setting up a chilli hobbit hole for the event. We’re also confirmed at Winchester, with other applications pending – it’s a hugely busy period for us and will doubtless cause logistical nightmares, but we will prevail. Somehow 😉
So this weekend sees me in Lechlade Garden Centre (Friday), Royal Wootton Bassett (Saturday) and Salisbury (Sunday)…the Pink Chilli Hobbit is in Bradford-on-Avon on Sunday…and our other itinerant chilli peddlers are in Oxford Gloucester Green (Thursday), Blackpool (Saturday), Swindon Designer Outlet (Sunday), Oxford Summertown (Sunday) and Bath Union Street (every day). You have no excuses to run out of anything these days, you know.
Finally, another image warning of the effects of repeated exposure to hot chilli sauce.
You have been warned.
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