Nathaniel recovered sufficiently for me to leave him with Simon although I found this very hard indeed. Elizabeth had two nights at home with Simon alone when I was admitted to hospital expecting Francesca and I left both the girls over night for a hen party (but left near bedtime and was home again for lunch the following day) but Nathnaiel has not been left over night. I spent lots of Friday very tearful. Silly really as all the children have had a wonderful weekend being spoiled by their Daddy!
Sarah and I made great time up the motorway until we were about six miles away from the event and the last little bit took nearly an hour as we were following several heavy steam engines on flatbed trailers, a real nightmare around all the steep hills and twisty narrow roads.
We arrived eventually and began to unload my very full car;
I had removed the three back seats so it was like a huge van. It contained three tables (and cloths), two chairs, a tent, a gazebo, two days worth of clothes etc, all Sarah's sparkles, a half dozen elephants, countless t-shirts and shoulder bags plus many other assorted goodies for sale, oh and stuff to wash with, a big bag of apples, lots of bananas, six bottles of tonic water, a flask and (very good thinking on Sarah's part) a huge bag of nachos and some flapjack!
We set to with the gazebo and it was a piece of cake! We had it up and running in no time at all. We added our tables and goodies as the organisers wanted all sellers to be organised and 'ready to sell' for 9am, not knowing how well or how long we'd sleep we figured it would be better to get most of the setting up done the night before.
After a stroll around to meet people and check out the facilities and find some hot food we completed our stall;
By the time we had finished titivating and laughing it was well after midnight so we decided as it was dry to abandon all thoughts of putting up the tent and sleep in the gazebo with the stock (if you look you can see the grass peeping out between our airbeds).
We awoke early to a lovely bright day, had time to hunt down some breakfast and grab a wash (of sorts) before opening our doors to the public;
We sat outside all day in the baking sun chatting to lovely people and making sales :-)
There were lots and lots of steam engines (well, we had expected that really);
At least a hundred tractors;
Two very big (very annoying) pipe music organs which cranked up around 8am and went on long into the night;
Some very beautiful vintage campers and cars and caravans, this was my fave (soooo pretty);
We walked around and looked at everything for a long time in the late evening sun, me nursing my sunburn and Sarah worried about the rain. All the other traders were very concerned by the forecast of heavy rain for the night and next day. In a slight panic and hoping to be wasting our time (you know how when you have an umberella it doesn't rain) we gathered all our stuff into the middle of the gazebo and covered them with waterproof cloth to keep them dry should the worst happen;
We also pitched our tent;
The rain came in buckletfuls!! We were up and bringing down our tent by 7am in our PJs. We thought it best to keep the one set of clean clothes we had dry. We got very very wet indeed and when we'd finished we set off to get dressed and found an inch of water on the floor in our usual dressing spot. We stood on our already wet pyjamas and hopped our way into dry things.
We stopped on the way back and managed to get a traders discount on something stylish to keep our feet warm and dry;
We had to have a drastic rethink of our layout to keep things dry (the rain was coming in sideways) and ended up putting quite alot of things away in the car. It did mean we weren't too cramped and people could come in out of the rain to browse which was a good selling tool for the few people that decided to brave the weather. Not a brilliant day for sales but not a wasted day either!
We ended up with my t-shirts folded on the table and it wasn't nearly as effective as the washing line but at least they stayed dry;
We packed up and made good time home on Sunday night, in time for me to snuggle all my babies before they went to bed, a later night for them but it is the holidays and Mummy had been missing for two and a bit days!
It was a brilliant weekend, even with the rain, and I am half thinking of taking all my family next year and making a mini holiday of it. There were lots of things for the children to do and see and there were lots of families around running stalls, manning engines and running the fairground. Something to think about.....