That was a long, long few days and I’m not sure I’m allowed to slow down just yet.
Regular readers will know that I was somewhat nervous in advance of the single biggest event I’ve yet taken on – namely the Royal Cornwall Show in Wadebridge. This had all sorts of things that could potentially go wrong, given that:
- I hadn’t done a show of this size before
- I was camping overnight – and I’ve never slept under canvas before
- The weather forecast wasn’t great
- My van was crammed to the gunwales with pretty much everything that wasn’t screwed down chez TCH
- There was a real potential for exhausted tetchiness on my part
So did it all go swimmingly? For the most part, yes. The camping bit worked pretty well. The tent I’ve bought for doing this kind of thing (as well as holidays) was really easy to put up, and really stable in the face of some rather stiff Atlantic breezes. And when I say breezes, I mean winds gusting up to some considerable gustage. The Showground is quite elevated and seems to catch the westerlies fair and square in the mush, but the tent was secure and I felt quite comfy in there, even when there was a terrific thunderstorm raging overhead…which was quite fun actually! My main issue with the campsite was noise – we were all a bit crammed in, and what with generators, car alarms, partying neighbours and crying babies it left sleep at a bit of a premium. Considering that, I’m looking forward to my next adventure in campology – I’ll just chose my pitch carefully.
Because of the wind King Gazebo took a bit of a beating. Our position in the show meant that the worst of the wind came into the open side of the gazebo, and this had the effect of making it inflate like a balloon, putting a heck of a strain on the sidewalls. One sidewall ripped its stitching, and several eyelets – pegged into the ground – just ripped clean out from the material, which is meant to be as tough as old boots. Now it’s not terminal, but item 5 on the above list certainly came to the fore. I suspect King Gazebo will need a bit of plastic surgery in the very near future, or possibly a transplant of some sort.
The van survived the trip well, not quite managing warp speed on the M5 but achieving decent impulse velocities nonetheless. A few coughs and splutters along the way, but when the engine’s done that many miles smooth running is a bit of a luxury.
So was it all worth it? Well I shifted a healthy amount of stock, learnt a hell of a lot about the way that these big events tick, and made a bit of money into the bargain – no more that I would have done at local events, but if you don’t buy a ticket, you don’t win the raffle. And of course there are the less tangible benefits – good publicity, more customers in a new part of the world, new contacts and new shows to be invited to, wholesale leads and a sense of achievement for a job well done. And, of course, there was the outside chance of getting a member of the royal family to try some out our chilli wondrousness – the Countess of Wessex did walk past the stall but I was too busy serving other customers to chance my arm 😉
Will I do it again? Yes, almost certainly – with a few tweaks. Same time next year then!
So after hot-footing it back from Cornwall on Saturday night it was straight back into the thick of local markets on Sunday – this time in Chippenham. I have to admit that I struggled to bring my ‘A’ game to this one, running on empty and all, but it was a nice day and I had a bit of fun. I did get to meet the prospective Conservative parliamentary candidate for Chippenham, Michelle Donelan; she introduced herself and I think was taken slightly aback by my response of ‘oh well, never mind’! We had a brief chat about my utter disaffection with all things MP-shaped, but she promised me that she would be active in local constituency matters should she get elected – an aspiration I sincerely hope she lives up to. On the plus side she has a bit of the Kate Middleton thing going on, and both her and her equally lovely friend Emma were welcome recipients of my Free Lollipops For Single Ladies promotional campaign 🙂
The Pink Chilli Hobbit spent Sunday afternoon at the Snap Farm Fun Day in Aldbourne. This was one of those events that you never quite know what to expect – they can be amazing or average, until you turn up you can’t be sure. In this case the locals were friendly, the local brass band were playing, and there was cider on tap! It was, by all accounts, a ‘fun day’, so job done 🙂
What else is going on then? Well, unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ll know that the World Cup starts this week. England have a bugger of a group to escape from, but if they manage to do that then the quarter finals are a real possibility. Now I’m not much a fan of the preening old guard in the England set-up, but they do have some interesting young players coming through that possess real skill, so we’ll see which version turns up. If it’s the exciting young guns playing attacking football, then I hope we go a long way; if it’s the dour, park-the-bus mentality that tries to grind out narrow victories from a set-piece then I hope we get knocked out early to save ourselves from further embarrassment. Of course as a Swindon fan I’ll also be supporting Australia – one of their squad, Massimo Luongo – plays for the Town.
I was shocked to hear of the sudden death of Rik Mayall on Monday, at the ridiculously young age of 56. I loved his early character Kevin Turvey, and The Young Ones was inspired lunacy. I never really fell in love with The New Statesman, but his fin de siecle Laurel and Hardy-esque slapstick in Bottom with Ade Edmonson was simply wonderful. Unsophisticated in a brilliantly choreographed way, it had me roaring with laughter at the sheer stupidity of it all. A great comedian, he will be sorely missed.
This weekend coming will see me in Ottery St Mary on Saturday, and at Melksham’s Food and Drink Festival on Sunday. The Pink Chilli Hobbit will be in Bishops Cannings on Sunday at the Farm Festival, possibly the shortest journey to an event she’ll ever have – it’s about a mile from her business unit! Other roving chilli hawkers will be in Oxford, Reading, Swindon, Malvern, Bristol and Moreton-in-the-Marsh. I’ve just watched the weather forecast and it’s looking like wall-to-wall sunshine for the next few days (OK, not raining at least) so come out and join the fun 🙂
Time to catch up on Game of Thrones before I work at the Farm tomorrow, I was too busy drinking beer with BoTCH* last night to watch it!
Have a great week, keep the faith and beware of the trund.
* = Brother of The Chilli Hobbit