Huddlesford – for us a final 2017 gathering of registered traders

Last weekend was our second time trading at the Huddlesford Heritage Gathering as it’s a bi-annual event. I’ve even got a photo published on their 2017 write-up – a terrific tiger! It was a fortuitous final festival of 2017 for us, as it’s nearby geographically to where we’ll be spending the next 15 or so weeks on board Areandare.

My Funtastic Facepainting pitch was just over the footbridge to the Lichfield Cruising Club, which thankfully our mooring was very close to. Initially we’d been a fair distance away, but we’d each emailed our protestations to the organisers having specifically requested a mooring as close to the festival field as possible. It’s hard work for me to carry all my kit there and back from boat to land-based pitch, two days in a row. Even better was I discovered it was possible to leave most of it in-situ overnight on Saturday which was amazing.

Unusually this year, the weather was on our side, despite the dull appearance on the images below – we were extremely grateful that during the trading times it actually DIDN’T RAIN which is something to celebrate this year after many dismal and wet weekends.

Trading wise, we both did marginally better this year than in 2015, which is always encouraging.

On Saturday evening we’d paid our £15 each and booked tickets for the Hog Roast supper and entertainment. We chose to miss out on the latter, as we wanted to chat with fellow traders so stayed outside to eat and drink rather than sitting in rows within the compact music marquee.

On Sunday morning I messaged the other traders we knew to suggest a gathering in celebration of the final festival of 2017 for most, if not all of us. Someone suggested going to the local pub, The Plough. However it’s hard to hear conversations in such venues, or get enough space for us all. Plus, and most importantly, we’d rather not deposit our hard earned cash behind a bar when possible!

The Sunday evening it was forecast to rain. Luckily The Hippie Boat was moored snugly under the railway bridge, so we all brought our chairs and beverages there! It was actually a great venue for an impromptu party.

We’re not sure if we’ll be at Huddlesford again in two years’ time – there’s likely to be a number of changes to our trading schedules and businesses in future that we’re still considering.

It was a pleasant weekend, and we applaud those who spent an immense amount of time organising such an event.

We’ll miss spending time with our trading colleagues who all now travel in very different directions until the spring. Some will be taking on paid employment, or like us running a Calendar Club outlet. Two traders we know are doing so – one in Tamworth and one in Redditch.

We’ll both continue with our voluntary ‘work’ for the Roving Canal Traders Association (RCTA), though in a much more subdued form than of late.

A few bonuses at Burton Floating Market 

I’m posting this a week late as I got waylaid last week travelling to mum’s to sort out a few things – I’m there again now after a fabulous weekend at Mercia Marina. More on that to come, hopefully before the next event on Saturday!

Doing our best in Burton

Splendid scenery surrounded us all weekend at the Burton Floating Market in Shobnall Fields on 13th and 14th May. Sadly the crowds stayed away – the challenge with this location is its seclusion it seems!

Hidden amongst a mass of urbanisation, we’d tried as The Roving Canal Traders Association to promote the event locally as much as possible. Local papers and radio for some reason didn’t engage with us as they have magnificently in other areas recently.

The people who did hear about us and came to check us out seemed to love us. There was a huge variety of traders. Probably one of the largest RCTA organised this year at 15 trade boats – and of course Funtastic Facepainting. Continue reading

A Funtastic time in Droitwich 

There’s something very special about this small town; it has a most endearing feel. Having spent a fair amount of time here since 1998, when my mum and dad relocated from Sutton Coldfield, I’ve got to know its nooks and crannies rather well. Every time we came back for a holiday from New Zealand we’d stay here.

Now we’re Floating Traders, so subsequently having experienced the town and its people as such for a few years, I love it even more.

This year the St Richard’s Canal Festival was organised and managed solely by the Worcester-Birmingham & Droitwich Canals Society. Previously for my Facepainting pitch I’ve liaised with the council. So we did wonder if we’d see any noteable difference in footfall.

I’m thrilled to report it was as amazing as ever. The footfall was fabulous. Even the weather behaved better than last year – though good old Mother Nature still managed to squeeze in most varieties during the three days. We just didn’t quite get snow or hail – though there were a number of rather uncomfortable times when it felt cold enough to! Continue reading