Summer 2021

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It's now August 2021. So much has happened since this time last year. 2020 was a year to forget for most of us, me included.

Last summer I was working driving buses, enjoying the highs and lows of being a key worker. It was all a bit rubbish. I was also not able to get out and about to meet people and sell my work at the numerous events and festivals we had planned to atend. This too was rubbish.

I left my job driving the chariots of love in March this year. I believed that we would have to be released from the grim grasp of the Covid 19 pandemic this year. This is a different area for discussion as it has so many obvious and as many hidden implications, most of which are not for this arena. That has proven to be the case. I have been double vaccinated and will await my booster when and if it is decided that we need them. Hmm.

Since March, I have worked hard on my online presence. Lockdown online sales were good and I was hoping to build on that. However, it seems that everytime I did some online work my presence was somewhat diluted. Competition is fierce and the mystery of SEO and search engine requirements creates confusion. Frustrating for someone waiting to be told it is safe to go out and play. And then we were told.

I was ready. New images created and new cards and prints made up. When the time came that events started peering over the parapets, they were very different to what we had come to expect.

The first was in Ilminster, Somerset; a small community event that we have always enjoyed. It makes it better when we receive an invite, rather than joining in the free for all, first come first served application process. It was okay. It reminded us of what we had been missing. It highlighted how much we had forgotten. It allowed us to iron out a few wrinkles and realise how rusty we were in almost every aspect.

And then the one we had been waiting for happened. Sidmouth Folk Week, where we have become an established fixture over the past six or seven years. Council managed pitches on the seafront had been reduced from 75ish to a mere 20. We were lucky enough to successfully come through the application process. It was weird that other successful stall holders were all familiar to us.

I will add some pictures later, probably in a proper newletter. I have video too which I need to upload and create links to. All part of visibility and running a successful, modern small business.

It was a real mix. The proper Folk Festival had been mothballed, hopefully to return next year. The weather was hot, chilly, dry, wet, windy, still, so typical British summer. We set up differently being about 10 metres away from our nearest neighbouring stall holders. It was successful and heartening. New images sold well, new products sold better than I anticipated.

Most importantly, many of our customers expected us to be there and were really happy to see us!

We loved being back. It is what we want to do.  It is our way of selling more and cementing our self-employed status. It brings us into contact with people, many of whom we learn from. We can tell our story, explain why we do what we do and take feedback of all types.

And we have more to come before escaping to France for a couple of weeks in September. We have a local show at Uffculme and a weekend Folk Festival at Swanage. Then we'll be gearing up for Christmas, working hard to continue our path towards a new horizon in 2022. There will be more on this when some of plans actually come to fruition.

Hopefully see you soon. My next blog posts will be shorter. Promise!

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