Edited to add: I started this a couple of weeks ago but it's taken aaages to actually complete & post
It seems strange to think that, as I type, I had just finished packing up my stand at the Kirstie Allsopp Handmade Fair at Ragley Hall in Warwickshire. Months of anticipation, weeks of hard work, days of final preparations, hours of travelling, three days of Fair then in a blink of an eye, it’s all over and now I’m at home a week later wondering if it happened at all!
I had a fabulous time, being away from home for a week, a complete change of scene. I was staying with my aunt & uncle which was lovely, and I was able to catch up with my cousin too. I met a lot of really lovely people, who had some very nice things to say about lampshades!
2 workshop elves, 187 lampshades, 120 cards, 12 lamp posts, 4 sets of shelves, 26 boxes, 1074.8 miles, 1 transit van, 12 metres of calico, and 2 glamorous assistants (brother & sister in law!) equalled a very busy and exciting and totally exhausting three days.
I arrived at the show ground early on Thursday, a smooth journey, no traffic following the GPS lady's instructions and reaching Ragley Hall in exactly 30 minutes. I thought initially I would just scout about, see what was where, unload later. I was met by smiling & cheery carpark staff who showed me straight down to the unloading bay where I was met and greeted by more smiley happy people, so I decided to take advantage of the extra few hours & parking spot to take my time unloading and setting up.
The weather was spectacular, beautifully clear blue skies and sunshine, quite unlike the still wintery and wet Argyll I had left behind. I also couldn’t get over how green and flowery everywhere was. Our bluebells were barely out underneath the still skeletal trees, and yet there the ground beneath the trees in full leaf, was ablaze with that dazzling, floating haze of blue that can only be bluebells. The edges of the lanes already beginning to froth with cow parsley and wild carrot were we still had dead bracken and the dried husks of last year’s umbellifer.
I arrived early on Sunday and took the chance to have a look around the Fair ground, to see what I was part of. It was lovely wandering about with only a few of the stall holders milling about. There wasn’t anything to do to my stall, the sun was shining and I was finally able to relax a bit.
And then they were gone. All the planning and the making and the setting up is now the taking down and the going home again. It was all worth it though.
It’s taken me a week to post this as, once I had got home on Monday, unloaded and returned the van to Oban on Tuesday, I pretty much collapsed, able to sleep the clock round without any difficulty, I brought back a bug, sore throat & chest and croaky voice. However, normal service needs to resume soonest, and I need to get back to work tomorrow. I had planned to spend the end of last week, tidying up the house – which always explodes when I have something big on and hadn’t recovered from before the Exhibition. Clearing up my studio cabin which rather looks like a fabric atomic bomb has gone off in it. Also sorting out the Studio Barn as it is now full of cardboard boxes of lampshades which need to be stored somewhere else so that workshops and classes can resume. And then there was the plan to photograph the lampshades, lanterns and lamps, to get them on to the ‘shop’ element of my website in time for the hordes of folk who having seen them at the show have now decided that they would like to buy one! Aaah the best laid plans. So, I will have to start it all tomorrow and perhaps at a slower pace than is my usual one. Afternoon naps have featured heavily in the last couple of days!
In an effort to get back to normal and as Saturday was lovely & sunny, Rosie & I went for a short amble along the shore at Crinan harbour.
Actually I didn't get back to 'normal' again and it is now the beginning of june when I press the publish button on this post!