Monthly Archives: November 2014

The meaning of bogies

20141105_1448092014 is barrelling towards its Christmassy conclusion, and that means there won’t be a whole lot of communication from yours truly, at least blog-wise, for the remainder of the year.  The reason is quite simple – once I’m installed in my lovely chalet at Salisbury Christmas Market I’ll pretty much have no spare time till the Festive blowout is in full flow.  I’ll try to get a few bits and pieces online, but I’m more likely to keep Facebook and Twitter updated than this here blog.  As you will be aware I’m never one to use one word when thirty will do – brevity ain’t my thing – and I’m unlikely to have the willpower to do much bloggy stuff after a day’s trading, especially as some of the days are late night shopping.

20141115_091438We’ve actually started our Christmas markets already – Simon has been in Cardiff for the last few days.  Bond is setting up in Winchester as I type (OK, Jamie will be doing the heavy lifting whilst Bond fetches tea and biccies).  I set up next Wednesday (I refer the honorable reader to the previous comment regarding Jamie doing the thinking whilst I hold a spirit level or something) and from that point on, till December 20th, I’ll be peering out at daylight from the inside of the Chilli Hobbit Chalet.  I still have a couple of farmers markets after that, so as you can imagine I’m rather looking forward to a bit of a lie down after that…as we all are.

20141116_114031This is my first full year in retail, and I’m beginning to understand why traders both love and hate the Festive season.  Sales go up, sure, but by ‘eck it’s stressful.  How much stock to make?  Which events to cover?  How do I pay for it all up front?  How much sleep will I get?  How do I get stock when I’m trading every day?  How do I keep the Pink Chilli Hobbit supplied for her events?  Will the cats forgive me for being out of the house for 26 days in a row? How many Pot Noodles will I eat during the market?  Can I squeeze in a haircut before I start trading?  When will I do the washing?  Vitally important questions all of them, but for the sake of my customers I suspect the last is the most important.

So in preparation, stock has piled up and is already disappearing fast.  A couple of cooking days are planned before Jamie gets to fly solo in the kitchen, but in reality we’re done on big batches.  If we run out, we run out.  The good news is that we have all our box sets in now – Voodoo Habanero, Fatalii, and 2-grinder and 2-bottle boxes.  Damned fine they look too, and proving very popular.

20141115_092202Last weekend saw me in a very unusual setting – a football stadium.  OK, seeing me in a football ground is not that unusual, but running a market stall in one most definitely is.  This was at Brighton’s Amex Stadium, where I was at a Christmas Fair.  Very well run, well attended and – more importantly – indoors.  After suffering rising damp, sinking damp and fin rot the weekend before, I was thankful of the dryness.  Of course Brighton’s a very different place than Wiltshire, so a different kind of clientele, but they liked their chilli stuff and were definitely up for a laugh.  They also liked my free lollipop sign…so many people appreciated my attempts at levity that it almost made me forget the sense of humour failure that accused me of sexism the other week.  Almost.

Gloucester beckons this weekend, for a 2-day Victorian market.  I think the organisers would like traders to dress appropriately for the occasion, but maybe I’ll just slap an urchin or something to get into the 19th century spirit.  Or possibly contract TB.  Or declare war on France.  Which would be a shame, as I rather like France.  They do good skiing there 🙂

20141110_123714One place I won’t be this weekend, and apologies to my regulars for this, is Royal Wootton Bassett.  I booked up Gloucester ages ago and simply don’t have cover for the RWB market.  Pink Chilli Hobbit is understandably hugely busy with her own business, PinkBox Boutique, at this time of the year, and despite our best efforts at cloning we’re not able to be everywhere (our clones have all gone a bit funny, and whilst useful in some ways most are only good enough for tasks that require no thought whatsoever, like carrying heavy stuff, tabloid journalism or joining UKIP).

And with that, I think I will sign off.  As I mentioned earlier, this will most likely be my last long post for a while as my poor halfling brain will struggle to write anything sensible (steady…) once festive trading starts.  I shall be putting stuff on my Facebook page and tweeting as well, so feel free to pay me a visit there.

And why The Meaning of Bogies for the blog title?  It’s one of the many, many random questions that my youngest daughter comes out with on occasion.  I do wonder how the teenage mind functions sometimes :-/

This is what God Slayer does to you

This is what God Slayer does to you


hogswatch

 

March of the Poozers

Well, here we are again, only this time it’s distinctly murky.

20141101_085918The clocks have gone back, the nights are well and truly drawing in and – despite one last ridiculously warm Halloween hurrah – we’re all rummaging around in wardrobes for the thermals.  I have to confess at this point to being a bit weird and secretly liking long evenings, where I can lower the portcullis, pull up the drawbridge and park myself on the sofa to watch a film or catch up on some reading…all the while attempting to reduce the world’s chocolate supplies.  Not every evening, of course, because then you start to go a bit funny in the head through lack of human interaction…but once a week or so it’s sort of pleasant to hide from the world.

halloweenHalloween came and went without a single trick or treater knocking on my door.  I was at home, but  adopted blackout mentality with no lights on – in reality I was working upstairs, as I am now, in the study – but not a single ghoulish child crossed my path.  I even had my lollipops ready, just in case!  I do have mixed feelings about the whole trick or treat thing…it’s lovely to see little kiddies dress up and have a fun time, but when a surly teenager knocks on your door, mumbling incoherently at you, surely that’s a bit rich.  I veer between polar extremes of ‘it’s a lovely dressing-up event for the kiddies’ and ‘ghastly over-hyped American atrocity’ – and advancing years do nothing to change my views.  Of course when I were a lad none of this happened – it seems to have ballooned in the 21st century, driven by the crass commercial concerns of corporate retailers desperate to fill an event gap between the summer holidays and Christmas.  If I could think of a chilli-related angle on it maybe I might change my views!

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Ooh, look what I found in the tunnels

There’s been a lot of stock creation at the Farm over the last few weeks, yet we still don’t think we have enough.  Rough calculations (the kind we’re best at) lead us to believe we’re two-thirds of the way to having the right amount, even though we’ve been busy.  Of course it’s a good thing if we need that much, but it’s a bit daunting that – despite having more stock than ever – we’re still well short.  Of course this is a knock-on from being at so many events, we are victims of our own success, so I’m not complaining.  Oh well, another day on the bottling machine beckons tomorrow 🙂

20141025_154449Event-wise it all goes a bit quiet in October.  Even those events we do attend are a bit quiet – everyone is keeping their powder dry for the Christmas push, though I did win a frankly mahoosive cake at a WI function last weekend, which was a bit of a Brucie bonus.  There are signs that pressie-buying is just about kicking off – even though the number of units we’re selling is pretty stable, what we are selling is veering towards the scary end of the table, a sure sign of gift purchasing going on.  The supply of Voodoo Habanero box sets disappeared very quickly, and we’re keenly awaiting delivery of more, along with the new Fatalii sets.  The grinder box sets started flying out at the weekend, and I expect the 2-bottle sets will go just as well when we get them in.

2015 is taking shape already. frightening though that is to comprehend.  My inbox is burgeoning (yes, burgeoning no less) with mails about events for next year – some of which are repeats, some are new to us, some are completely new events with no history.  At some point in January there will be a gloves-off, no-holds-barred bunfight between all the main protagonists to discuss who’s doing what, when and more importantly why.  It’s a difficult task, with people having favourite events they want to go to again, some they think we should cover but don’t have the time, manpower or willpower to do, and a few left-field fightsuggestions that hang tantalisingly in the air waiting for someone to take charge.  2014 was difficult to plan, 2015 will – I suspect – be even harder.  I’ve learnt a few things this year though – namely, don’t fill in gaps too early, there are always events out there – even if they’re planned in at fairly short notice.

One thing I’m pretty sure about though – I reckon my cricket playing days will be extremely limited again, possibly limited to the point of extinction.  That is a real shame, but the bills have to get paid somehow.  I’ll try to sneak into a midweek  evening game or two, they’re unlikely to impinge on events too much.

Talking of events, we’re at a few this weekend:

  • Sheffield Global Market – Wednesday to Sunday
  • Bristol Temple Quay – Thursday
  • Reading Farmers Market – Friday
  • Sutton Benger Farmers Market – Saturday
  • Swindon Designer Outlet Farmers Market – Sunday

20141025_094316Pink Chilli Hobbit will be in Trowbridge as usual this Wednesday at her community market stall, selling all sorts of goodies.  At the last count she had 55 samples available for food and cosmetics…I have enough trouble coping with 10 or 12!  She’ll also be in Calne this Saturday morning selling chilli stuff, as well as other foodie goodies, so pop along 🙂

Had to drop off a delivery in Broadway (the Worcestershire variety) last week.  I may just have stopped for a nice lunch whilst I was there, it’s a lovely place – well worth a visit!

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And with that, ladies and gentlemen, I shall sign off for this post.

Have a great week, don’t work too hard, and remember to bow before your Poozonian overlords.


It’s Remembrance Day this Sunday, so spare a moment to think of the fallen from all nations, most especially the conscripts, that fought for their country.

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We shall remember them.