Years ago I was a barmaid, back home in North Norfolk. I worked at The Globe, Wells Next The Sea. It was a proper local pub with the old boys in the front bar, and the youth around the pool table in the back bar. I started off collecting glasses there when I was 14, and worked my way up through the kitchen to barmaid by the time I was 18. I bloody loved it. It was a funny old time in my late teens with my parents splitting up, me living in Norwich in digs all week for college, then home every weekend. I lived for the weekends. I came home and worked in the pub and it was like another family to me. When I left college I didn't go into residential social work (as per my course!) I upped my hours at The Globe and also worked at Burnham Pottery.
Anyway, the reason I'm going on about the pub under a title of 'markets' is I loved that customer facing bit. Chatting to people and finding out about them. It was also, back in the 80s, a great opportunity to chat up any lad that came in! Everyone has to come to the bar after all.
In my first year of 'Proper Printing' the amazing Mount Pleasant Eco Park in our village were holding a Christmas Market. It had been a year of lockdowns, no one had been out, masks were still a thing, but I thought I'd give it a go. I booked a stall in the atrium which is covered but very airy as it's open sided. I booked it with my lovely friend Miriam who I'd met on the printmaking course at Kiwi Print Studio. Miriam had made beautiful bunting and tiny silk Christmas Trees with cinnamon stick trunks. She is a great maker and has an amazing eye for colour and detail. We (well me anyway) were still worried about Covid, there were no vaccines and people were still being very poorly if they caught it.
The day of the market (which was a two day event) came. Miriam and I set up the stall, there was a little folk group playing in the corner and twinkly lights everywhere. It was absolutely magical. We hadn't been anywhere for months, hadn't heard live music, hadn't seen many people at all. I loved it!
And I sold a lot of prints, people genuinely liked them and asked questions about them and how they were made. I got my 'customer facing' barmaid bit back. It was brilliant.
And no lads were chatted up, not one, honest.