To Market, To Market

I’m exhausted!  What a busy three days we’ve had (which will explain my absence from my blog)!

I’ve been so busy making preserves, chutneys, jams, jellies, etc. over the past four weeks that I even had some days I made two or three batches of different things.  This past weekend was the Christmas fair on Saturday and the Farmer’s market on Sunday.  Chef P took off on Friday just so we could get our weekly food shopping done as we weren’t able to do it on Saturday, our usual day.

We headed out early on Friday morning and headed to Ramsgate to the green grocer and and Asian grocery.  We were low on garlic (only three bulbs left!), chili peppers, noodles and soy sauce.  Picked up a 5kg. bag of onions for the bargain price of £2.50 and got some tomatoes and a nice honey pomelo for £1.00.  I’ll be having some of that tonight.

After shopping and getting our wares home and unloaded, Chef P had some brunch, then we headed down to the town to the fabric store as I needed some Christmasy material for my table and stopped in at mum’s on the way back.  By the time we got back home, I had to make the dough as it was pizza night and cut up all the topping ingredients.

I was in bed by 9:30 and up at 6:00 on Saturday morning.  Market/Fair mornings are very hectic for me.  Get up, come downstairs and make two pots of coffee; one regular for Chef P and one decaf for me.  We each have a thermos for our coffee.  I prepare my breakfast, make a sandwich to take with me, load up the cooler bag, give the kitties a bit of dry food, head up to shower and dress, come back down, finish making my breakfast, feed the kitties, and get all the boxes of jars and accessories into the livingroom for easier loading into the car, all while taking spoonfuls here and there of my porridge.

We were at the fair by 9:00, giving me two hours to set up before the crowds were let in.  Two hours might seem like a long time, but if you’ve ever set up wares to sell at a fair or market, you know that it really does take that long.  I also had less table space than what I usually have so had to set up the display in a more strategic way.  I had about 80+ jars that we left in the car because I didn’t have the space for them which was OK as I needed to have stock for Sunday.

At 11:00 (the fair was from 11:00-3:00) the doors opened to let people in.  Apparently they had been out there waiting to come in and it was like the flood gates opened!  My table of jars was like a magnet!  The first ten or so people who came in, came directly to my table.  I’ve never had so many people at my stand at one time, it was almost overwhelming!  Thank goodness Chef P was there as there were two of us to help people instead of just me.  The first two hours were almost non-stop with customers.  I ran out of all of the Orange Brandy Marmalade along with my last jars of Lime Marmalade and Lemon Ginger Marmalade (everyone loves marmalade!).  Chef P had to go out to the car to see if we had anymore to sell the last jar.  The Pickled Onions went too; all but one jar (I had eight jars).

It settled down after a while and before I knew it, the time was showing as 1:30.  The people running the fair came around to the stall holders with little tea sandwiches and sausage rolls; tea and coffee were available all day (not that we needed that as we brought our own).

We also had a bit of excitement during the fair as the fire alarm went off. We all had to grab our coats (and money boxes!) and head outside.  The fire trucks were there in less than five minutes.  There really was a fire, albeit a small one in the hospice dining room; a lightbulb popped and burst into flames.  We were allowed back in after about 10-15 minutes.

By the time all was said and done, the day was over and we packed up and went home.  I had this to look forward to again the next day!

Sunday was a whole other ballgame.  We were set up outside (as usual) and the wind coming off the North Sea was awful!  It’s hard to put clothes onto tables with the wind kicking up.  Shortly after I was all set up, Mother Nature decided to send some clouds overhead and open them up to let some rain pour down…not a good thing especially with all the wind.  Even though we are under canopies, the wind just drove the rain right in and many of my jars got wet and the labels ran.  I  wasn’t a happy camper.  The rain eventually stopped and the sun came out, but the damage had been done.  I won’t be back to the market until March so I have some time yet before I need to redo the labels that were ruined.

Now it’s time to finally start concentrating on Christmas!

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