During Friday lunch at a motorway services, Helen had bought me some Ibuprofen, and on Thursday night I started taking them. Friday morning my neck felt bad already, and the tablets didn’t seem to have much effect. I resigned myself to having a bit of a stiff neck for the weekend. Not ideal, but not the end of the world.
We got up, had some coffee and made off to the show, about 10 miles away, and we needed to be there at around 08:30. No problem. We had been warned by the guys from the RCA that they expected Friday to be quiet. Well, it was quiet. There were sometimes passages of 5 or 10 minutes when not a single person walked across the front of our stall.
On the other hand, we made a lot of contact with the other stall holders, discussed the pros and cons of various stand layouts, were given plenty of advice on what to do and not to do, where to go and where to avoid, and so on. All in all, this is a nice community. People are friendly and helpful, as they all know that tomorrow they might have to ask for some help themselves.
We had a lot of positive feedback from the other people in the tent and also from those few spectators that came to see us. There were some woodturners (you can always spot them by the way they pick up your work and look at it. More often than not the first thing they do is turn it upside down and look at the bottom), and most of them seemed to be quite impressed. Goes down like honey, I tell you.
When we put up the stall on the day before, we had also brought a tin of paint for some last minute touch up jobs. These were duly applied and no more thought of. Then both of notice Jane and Sean polishing some of their handbags. We walk over, make some lighthearted comments, only to be greeted with some rather fiery looks, and we realized that we had accidentally showered their top shelf with little droplets of white paint. That was proper embarrassing, I can tell you. We apologized profusely, which they accepted, and after that we all got along fine. Another lesson learned.
As the day went on, nothing much happened. Some interest here, a little chat there. It took until about 2pm before we had our first sale: a walnut box. Then another few hours of chatting and waiting and chatting and waiting and…, well, you get the picture. Then, finally, around 4pm, I had a long chat with another stall holder from somewhere else on the grounds, and after about 20 minutes I thought “OK, any second now he’s gonna give us a nod and wish us a good day”. But he surprised me by pointing at my blue vase with an orange dot and said “Could I have that one, please?” Almost as if he had to ask permission to buy it.
That sort of saved the day, money wise. Not great, but at least not a total dead end.
All this time, my neck was getting worse and worse. At some point I lay down in the van, with some rolled up carpet under my neck to try and get some relief. By around 5pm I was in total agony. Any movement of the head resulted in immediate pain that wanted to make me scream (but that would have caused even more pain, so I didn’t). When the show was finished for the day, we went straight to the local supermarket and bought some proper paracetamol and some gel. I then had a long hot bath (and as it later turned out, that was completely the wrong thing to do), popped in a few pills and put some gel on. In that way I could at least enjoy some dinner. By that time, my stepson Michael had arrived as well, promising much desired relief for the next 2 days. But more about that in the next post.