At Ardingly last week I was amazed to find the weather reporters to be correct and the sun shone for both days – quite a novelty for Ardingly which we seem to do in quite a bit of rainfall. Due to the lovely bright weather we had lots of visitors and everyone seemed to be in a happy mood, after the long, miserable wet winter.
I was very optimistic and took lots of garden items, including a few benches which I was glad went to new homes. I do try and enjoy some items a little, before taking them to a fair to offer them for sale and both benches had been in our garden for a short while.
Whilst out wandering around the site, I returned back to find out that the singer Will Young had been and I had missed him. I dutifully stayed around desperately waiting to meet him as he was returning for something from one of our neighbours, but I had to pop out. and of course, missed him again. I do see famous people at fairs, but quite often have to have them pointed out to me as they are usually unrecognisable in a different setting. I was told that Mr Young was a complete gentleman and I am really sorry not to have seen him, although I would probably have been quite tongue-tied around him. Maybe Mr Clooney or Mr Brosnan will attend the next Ardingly and I can swoon some more.
After a long drive we arrived at Shepton Mallet in thick fog. The weather forecast had said that there would be sunshine for the whole weekend so we had dressed accordingly, having left home in France when it was 20 degrees! (Note to self: Remember that the weather forecasters are nearly always wrong when there is a fair on.) Two jumpers later and we had unpacked the van and set up our stall. Lots of friendly people came over the next three days and we had a lovely time, although the weather did not really improve until Sunday. Daughter No 1 visited us and took a few photos – I did intend to take lots but of course it was busy and so completely forgot.
Although I love our life in France, I also like to stock up on some English staples that I just can’t find here. So boxes of teabags and digestive biscuits are always purchased. French supermarkets can be fun when just on holiday, but food shopping is still a bit of a chore to me, although our local supermarket has an amazing fish counter.
This has got me thinking about how the French do things differently, and how we are adapting. Now we have only been here permanently since last summer, but already I am getting used to the break in the day when the shops close and I can justifiably sit with a book and a coffee after lunch. I also love the courtesy when in shops, and the friendliness of our local hamlet as everyone has been unfailingly kind and welcoming. We are now planning for Newark so lots of pootling around hunting for goodies. One of my favourite finds are these lovely antique chairs which more often than not have to be stripped. If we are lucky, they have original tickings underneath which means they can be used without recovering.
Well, another year ended with many of my plans not yet started. I know this is probably the same for lots of people, but occasionally I meet people who are very dedicated and seem to accomplish so many different things. So 2014 is going to be my year. I will be letting you know about fairs I am attending, regular updates on our lives here in France, and generally just trying to start and maybe finish a few of my plans.
We moved permanently out to France last summer and after many months of building work, I am now ready to decorate. Yes, paint charts abound here, both UK companies and French ones, and the choice is enormous so of course I am dithering. Who knew there were so many hints of grey?
Tess in the heavy snow a few years ago
Tess hiding in the van cab
My next fair is Newark the 6/7 February and we will be in our usual spot in Marquee 9a with Liz, Maud and Alan. I love doing the fairs and meeting everyone, and for the last few years we have been bringing our dog, Tess, to all the events. Tess is a heinz 57 variety, a rescue dog who obviously has quite a bit of collie sheepdog in her, as she is predominantly black with white tummy. She is the most neurotic dog I’ve ever met, and we believe she considers herself human not canine. Since she has been coming to the fairs with us, I have had to replace her water bowl many times. I have dropped pot ones, and the plastic variety just seem to disappear. We do recall leaving a few under the van which we’ve driven over (how much we laughed at the first, but not at the fifth) as we left, and we assume the others have all been left on our pitch when we’ve gone home. So, Tess starts the year with 2 new shiny bowls, hopefully non-breakable plastic, and which we’ve promised ourselves will be collected and not abandoned.
May I take this opportunity to wish you all a peaceful and prosperous New Year.