21 November 2010 (Sunday) - Lamberhurst Xmas Fayre

Once again an early start. ‘er indoors TM  had arranged to flog candles to an unsuspecting public at the Lamberhurst Village Xmas Fayre, And I’d arranged to go along for want of anything better to do.
We arrived to find consternation. It turned out that Virginia wasn’t able to be there today, and so the organisers were in uproar. It would seem that Virginia was the only person who could do the washing up. The entire catering department of the event was on hold, pending cancellation until a decision could be made. I’ve no idea what that decision was, or what they did, but tea and coffee were available. Either Virginia eventually turned up, or they saved the dirties for her.

George” showed us where we could set up our stall. We were squeezed in between someone selling really hideous tat on one side, and a fit bird flogging silver jewellery on the other. The tat was truly awful. It was home made papier mache vases and jugs (starting at fiufteen quid each). The only conceivable use these might have would be that when the charity collectors call, you might have something that you can give away. The fit bird had jewellery for sale which wasn’t too shabby, but she wasn’t giving it away. Mind you, no one was giving anything away. There was some woman knocking out stuff from “My Secret Kitchen” – the ingredients to make (most of) a loaf of bread cost a tenner. Another stall was flogging home made linen hobby horses for twenty quid. And there were some truly terrible floral arrangements to be had for thirty quid.

And again this place summed up what is wrong with the entire concept of running a stall at a village fete. The idea is to get cash from the general public. But the general public don’t come to these things to spend money. The general public (by and large) stay at home. Those that do venture to a show such as today’s come along, grumble how much it all costs, and then go home again.
Most (all) of the punters who were parting with their hard-earned cash today were spending it on stalls run by their friends; having arranged in advance to come along to support their friends’ stall(s). I couldn’t work that one out at all. If you’re going to be selling to your mates, why bother paying for a stall in a draughty village hall? Why not just invite your mates round and flog your stuff to them from the comfort of your own living room?

It was very obvious that those stalls making money were those run by people who had got all their mates to come along. Every sale made on any stall was accompanied by a ten minute chat about old times and mutual friends and relatives. Those of us (and there were quite a few of us) who had travelled a long distance didn’t get a sniff.
The only good thing that could be said about the day was that when the raffle was drawn, I won the Xmas cake.

We packed up and on the way home we stopped at Biddenden Vineyard where I got a tray of Blues. If my home-made Stout fails, I’ll have a back-up plan for Xmas day. And then to Lidls. Lidls were knocking out bottles of MasterBrew at a pound each. It’s not my favourite beer, but I’ve had much worse in my time.

And then home where I’ve now got the next batch of stout on the go. Five gallons of the stuff. It is just sitting in a huge bucket in my back room at the moment. I hope it will turn out OK…

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