|Posted by drynosedog on December 23, 2014 at 5:35 AM|
Well it's Christmas Eve Eve and I was sat at the dining table wrapping presents until I realised that I'd not completed my annual Christmas blog, which is usually made up of a summary of the Christmas events, an apology for not blogging much, a thank you to all my customers and then finally a signing-off teamed with a festive greeting for all you blog readers. I don't see any reason to change this winning formula which is likely becoming more popular than the Queens speech. I may add some extra info, I'm not sure what is hidden in the depths of my brain as I had pretty much shut off from Drynosedog Designs until I realised I had this one last little thing to do. It's been an extra crazy couple of months, so I think I can/should be forgiven.
So, fairs, fayres, markets, events. Call them what you will but the fact is we've been to a few. (And also missed one too, which is unusual for us.) We started the Christmas run with Chatsworth Christmas Market, undoubtably one of our favourite and most tiring markets. It runs for a straight eleven days and I normally have an emotional breakdown somewhere around day 6. I didn't let myself down and lost the plot totally on day 7. I'm not sure if it's down to lack of sleep, the excitement and relief of finally being set up and trading (which I pretty much plan all year for) or the fact that one of doggies is not well. (Please be aware, I get a little side tracked here, so if you are not interested in dogs, I suggest you skip a paragraph, though it does explain why we missed Shugborough, and it explains the extra tiredness. Though it does neither in a very quick way!) Some of you will already know that my one of furry-footed pals was diagnosed with Lymphoma on August 1st this year. Without going into too much detail, Lymphoma is a very aggressive disease, and most dogs do not make it many weeks beyond diagnosis. We opted not to go for Chemotherapy, as for many reasons, we didn't feel it appropriate for Maisie. Our vet agreed and we got the to ahead to take the dogs on a five day break to Wales, with the intention of starting steroid treatment upon our return, when Maisie had recovered enough from the operation which had diagnosed her. This was to be a few days of dog utopia- sausages, ice creams, fish and chips and huge long walks on sandy salty beaches. A brilliant send off for a fabulous partner in crime. Maisie however, had other plans. She stuck around to finish a bucket list of favourite walks which we never thought we would even get half-way through. She stuck around to do them same walks three or four times over in some cases. She stuck around to wear her Halloween outfit again. She is still here now, curled up by the window, advent calendar nearly finished, stocking hung up by the fireplace, with a load of presents ready to go in it. She has been drinking a lot due to the steroids, which in turn causes her to be able to compete with horses for any I-can-do-the-biggest-wee-competitions. (Not too sure of this competitions existence, I'm sure it exists somewhere, but it's purely for descriptive purposes here) This means getting up in the night to let her out. A lot. Hence the tiredness. This also caused me to not be able to attend the fair at Shugborough- I had no-one to look after her as the other main nurse-maid in the house had already used all his spare holiday to be with her while I was at Chatsworth, and the Drynosedog apprentice (who has probably now qualified due to her long service) had other important stuff to do (attending college)
Right, back to fairs. Back to Chatsworth. It was a brilliant event again, and we were one of the twelve who got nominated for best dressed stall. Although, having won last year, we didn't expect to win again, and we were just pleased to have been nominated, as we really are so very proud to be a part of this wonderful market, and being nominated means a spot next year. So, best start planning next years theme then, hey?! While we were at Chatsworth, we also had a stall booked at The Roundhouse in Derby, which is run by Fabulous places. This we discovered was a decision of brilliant proportion as our products were very well received by all the wonderful customers, and the Drynosedog Team were kept very busy. We had a new apprentice this year, and he proved to be worth his salt, standing up to the 8pm finish with gusto. We have double-booked events before, but never whilst at Chatsworth, and it was very tiring, but well worth the effort, and as usual, it couldn't have been done without my team of amazing folk. (Thanks so much Andy, Charlie and Asher- you are all amazing) The weather was mostly ok for us, some mornings started off a bit ropey, but generally the clouds didn't produce too much rain. There was one morning where I just couldn't imagine anyone leaving their house, least not to come to an outdoor market on a windswept Chatsworth Estate. Marquees were kept shut til the last minute as the wind was strong and the rain was horizontal. Traders sheltered cowering over cups of coffee and bacon cobs. (I had a Bakewell tart to up my sugar levels ready for a battle with the marquee cover) The weather did clear and it turned out to be a fine day. Day by day, the car parks got a bit muddier and vans were starting to get stuck, but my little Corsa ploughed on, pretending to be a Land Rover thorough the deep troughs of sticky mud. As usual, the eleven days flew by and before we knew it, we were packing down. One side of my marquee was pretty much empty by this point, as the snowmen, robins, Christmas Puddings and penguins had proved even more popular than usual, leaving me with a rather sorry display compared to what we had started with. Next year I shall make lots more! I shall be even more organised, and start making my stock even earlier in the year. This is what I say every year, and every year, it takes me by surprise how many people want to take home some of our glass goodies. So next was meant to be Shugborough Hall. which we were really looking forward to, having never been before. This was not meant to be, and as I have already explained why, I shall say no more and move swiftly onto the weekend after. Now into December, we were faced with another double booking- an old favourite which we have attended for a few years now- Denby Pottery Christmas Gift Fayre, and a fair which we first went to about five years ago but due to other commitments, never made it back to-The Winter Wonderland at The Pavilion Gardens at Buxton.(We are normally at Calke Abbey) The change was a good one, and we ended up having a brilliant weekend at Buxton, beating the Denby team on tealights sold (which is generally unheard of, they normally slam me on sales!) It started snowing around midday at Buxton (yay!) and some stallholders had to leave a little earlier as their roads home were fast becoming white and unpassable. We stayed til the end with a promise of a 4x4 rescue if needed, and as usual, were one of the last to leave. (Which is good as we get the car right by the door for easy loading)
So that was that, fairs done. Now to restock all the shops that had just about sold out while we had been at fairs. This was a mammoth task, and web orders were also pouring in like we've never known before. Back to the studio for one last week or two of silly working hours and then I could start thinking about Christmas. And here I am, wrapping paper on hold til I sign off for this year. Which looking at the length of this blog (a Christmas special it would seem!) shouldn't be too long. So thank you. All of you. Customers who buy my work. Shops who stock our products. Organisers who deem us good enough to sell our wares at their events. Fellow stall holders and friends who I inflict my whining/dancing/singing onto. Friends who visit us at shows to say hi. Amanda for the lifts. Andy, Charlie and Asher for everything. I honestly truly sincerely could not do it, and keep doing it without you all. And I know I say it every year, but I don't want any of you to forget how important each and every one of you are to Drynosedog Designs. Thank you, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. See you in 2015 x