2014 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.
We’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.
This 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.
Last 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 🙂
One 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