So, my first major challenge:
with Tony away there are still busy events to attend on top of all the other work to be done….& of course, the added complication of having to manage the entire ‘shebang’, on my own.
For that reason, we’d invested in two mini-freezers, a mini scoop cabinet which holds just two Napoli pans; & a sturdy fisherman’s trolley which folds up neatly; yet when opened out boasts a platform, relatively high off the ground which means I don’t have to stagger around with the unwieldy scoop cabinet, too far. Whilst it only weighs around 30-35 kgs – & of course I’m used to throwing around hefty bales of hay & straw around as well as heaving heavy feed sacks up into our tall metal bins – having the freezer unit at one end does make this otherwise elegant cabinet, bulky & difficult to move easily by a single person.
So our first outing was to be today’s Community Climate Change Event & Local Products Christmas Fair at the Bloomfield Centre in the picturesque little town of Narberth. Consisting of a host of fascinating workshops ranging from circus skills & willow weaving to building your own mini wind turbine, there were also several interesting speakers intent on helping the community to become more responsibly green.
A wide variety of produce from local craftsmen was also on sale; & business was brisk as many of the attendees had taken a £10 pledge – to spend no more than £10 on each present for friends & family over Christmas this year. Whilst choosing such a gift might take a little more thought, the ingenuity displayed by some of the participants was very laudable; & I suspect it will be a fascinating & much more worthwhile Christmas in those households – not to mention, fun!
Although Narberth isn’t particularly far away it takes a while to drive there as it’s across country on what has be described as not always the best of roads. The route goes right through the Prescelli Mountains which were dark & brooding in the murky morning light – not great weather to be selling ice cream, I thought to myself grimly as sleety rain battered the car. Still; it was a good opportunity to ‘road test’ all the new kit, & being a winter’s day still weeks from Christmas I didn’t exactly have the greatest of expectations….
I arrived at the Bloomfield Centre with around half-an-hour to set up my stall. Although not yet officially open the event was already a hive of activity & finding a space in the very large car park was a challenge. But I managed to weave in & out of the bustling crowds with my little freezers on their trolley; & set up an attractive display as well. As I was along a thoroughfare near the main entrace I was in quite a good postion; but although plenty of people looked at the stall things were very quiet for me initially – “not the weather for ice cream”, people cheerily said as they breezed past. Time for me to start my sales pitch, or it’d be a lean day…..
Giving out plenty of little ‘taster’ spoons certainly got people interested & engaged. But still, people weren’t buying…..until after lunch, that is; when they evidently decided it was time for dessert. I soon had a queue & the Christmas Pudding variety in particular proved very popular, selling out an entire Napoli. The vanilla & chocolate went similarly well & in fact I think I had one of the busiest stalls, overall. A lot of people who’d drifted past earlier in the day, came over to try some; as word was rapidly spreading about the superior quality of our gelato. And a lot of people were asking where they could buy it locally – which was great; & gave me a real confidence boost.
There were the inevitable sceptics including those who loudly proclaimed that because it is made from goats’ milk, the ice cream must taste foul; however thankfully the number of ‘converts’ hugely outweighed those who sadly – & perhaps narrow-mindedly, wouldn’t even try it.
At the end of the day I loaded the car & in still utterly foul weather, headed for home in buoyant mood. Having taken several hundred pounds in only a few short hours the event had been a resounding success for ‘Lovespoon’ – especially when you consider how grim & gloomy the weather had been. People had certainly fallen in love with it; & the way word got around was like wildfire, so I do hope this momentum continues.
As for lessons learned….? Well, firstly I need to ensure that for next weekend’s event at Dinefwr I include some ‘take-home’ pots in my stock; as I could have sold them several times over, today (I only took Napoli pans with me). And the other thing would be to take something to eat & drink – because as I couldn’t leave the stall, it would’ve been a lean & hungry day for me if the organisers hadn’t taken pity on my plight & kindly furnished me with a welcome bowl of cawl cennin (leek soup), a hunk of hearty wholemeal bread & a chunk of pungent, flavoursome cheese. At least I know for next time….
But it was a great event; & so very heartening, to see a community so engaged & working together to make the world a better place.