Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Preparing for Noah....or *Far, far away in a little town in Germany* - Xmas Market 2009
After a rather short sleep we rolled out of bed at 6a.m., drank our coffee, got showered and dressed in loads of warm togs, and set off for the market. We took my *Panda* as it has loads of space when the back seat is folded. It's only a few minutes drive to get to the market, and as we arrived at the park where it was being held, we were a little perturbed that we couldn't see anything or anyone. The tents had not been sent up, just the metal frames, there were no lights, and nowhere to go or nothing to do except to stand there in a bedraggled group in the pouring rain by 4° Celsius. Well, sooner or later, the *organisers* turned up, and started to put the plastic roofs over the frames, so at least we could stand somewhere dry and start unpacking our tables and things. But strangely enough, we were still getting wet - the roof was letting water through. We hollered for help and 2 youngsters came, said *no problem* and pulled another roof over the first one. Our tent still had no sides, so an evil wind was icing up our wet fingers. By 8 it was beginning to get light, and the sides arrived, which we had to fix to the support-poles with plastic rings like you use for hanging up shower curtains. Not a difficult job ususally, but with cold and numb fingers not exactly easy either....and there was still rain trickling through holes in the roof. Sonia - the third one in our Xmas team, phoned her parents who arrived on the spot almost immediately and covered the back wall and roof of the tent with a really waterproof tarpaulin. I was very surprised what other people always have to hand, things like that do not belong to my standard equipment. In the meantime B & I drove back to her house to fetch the rest of out gear. We had a trolley (one of B's golden ideas!) but as the next parking lot was at quite some distance we had to huff and puff to pull this unruly beast through the quagmire of mud that had once been a path. Then we did the decorations in our now (more or less dry but still very cold tent. We twisted Xmas lampion chains with green garlands and Sonia stood like a heroine on the ladder and tied them to the cross supports under the roof although her fingers must have been deep frozen, too. After all was decorated, the tables covered with white and green cloths, and we had placed our wares festively and strategically, it even stopped raining for a few minutes, but only for a few minutes every so often. And we were already wet and cold through to the core. And it was dark. On a grey December day you need light, and the organisers had problems getting their generator to work. We had a few minutes, sometimes a few seconds of lights, and were then plunged into blackness again. We even had some customers who came by in the dry minutes and bought things....And the stall next door was selling hot egg-nogg, which did help to keep the spirits (or the spirit level) up for a few minutes at a time. At Midday B's Mum brought us some wonderful hot spicey soup, delicious, just the thing to warm us up. She lives just round the corner, so in the afternoon I went round to her place for half an hour to get warmed up. She is a very kind lady - took my cold, wet jacket off as if I had been a little girl, sat me in the armchair with my feet up and covered me with a cashmere blanket. And dried my cap on the hot radiator, brought me coffee and biscuits, and made me feel like a kid again, and it was a good feeling. When I left half an hour later I felt warm and dry again, and it was so goooooooooood to pull on my warm cap....absolute luxury! Then the day went on . And on . And on. It was freezing, it was pouring, and the lights kept going out. Some nice person used one of the dark phases to pinch the notes out of my cash box. But nobody is completely bad. The 5,00€ small change was left in the box....After we all complained non stop about the lighting - or lack of it! the organisers got the THV - a voluntary technical help association who help by catastrophies, earthquakes and dark Xmas markets. After about an hour the lights went on, so we were able to see each other shiver in front of a background of sparkling, well-lit raindrops. We kept going, with the help of egg-nogg and spiced wine till 8 p.m. Then we packed our cards and things together and dragged the trolley again through the mud to the car, and B drive us home. It was a wonderful feeling to stand on the hot floor in her house (she's got underfoot heating) and feel the warmth slowly coming back. Then a spot of supper, a lot of tears - from me - I was so cross that someone had pinched my money that I had worked so hard for! - a bit of TV and then shower and bed. Sunday we didn't have to start till 10.30, which meant we could sleep longer - very good - and started out again full of hope. The weather was a bit warmer, and at first it looked like it was going to be a nice day. Then Noah emptied bucket afer bucket of water over the park, turning everything into a sea of mud. Well, to be quite honest, I wouldn't have gone anywhere to buy things in that weather either. The few people who risked going out stamped past in the direction of egg-nogg, spiced wine and edibles. Sold enough cards to almost pay the stall-fee, which they had reduced because of the lighting fiasko of the day before. At 6p.m. we called it a day, packed up and started to transport the things back home. A friend of B's was there, so she drove half the things home for us in her car, although she had had a long day at work behind her. As we then dragged the last trolley full through the sticky mud path along by the old mill, we had to laugh in spite of it all. We were happy to get home, get out of our wet clothes, put on PJs and flop onto the couch. B's Dad brought us some supper, which was delicious, and made a nice end to a hard day. OK, ít didn't go as we had thought or planned. It was cold and wet. We sold next to nothing from the things which we had made over weeks. But I had a weekend with B, my best friend, we met nice people at the market, and it could have been worse. We could have had a tornado or earthquake or a major flood, but we didn't. And next time will definately be better!