A late decision to spend some time at the Briantspuddle Christmas Craft & Gift Fair was very well justified.
Although the village is only a couple of miles from Tolpuddle it feels further apart: it is in a different district council for a start (Purbeck as opposed to West Dorset – different school system, different bin men, etc.), and seems to look east rather than west for its centre of gravity. Just an impression, perhaps.
Anyway, in spite of being a latecomer I was found a table by the kitchen with a minimum of fuss and set up a stall, quite rudimentary in comparison to some of the extravagant craft displays in the village hall. There were plenty of volunteers providing a real community event which was well supported. And why not with such a variety of gifts, excellent home-made lunches, a choir, a raffle (obligatory in Dorset) and a visit from Santa? Well done, Bob, by the way. Although there was no sign of snow in the lanes I did wonder if he had arrived by Bob-sleigh.
I had intended to stay for two hours at the most but ended up spending nearer five, largely because the sales of Shillingstone Station were steady and going well. So well, in fact, that I had to leave the venue briefly to go and fetch extra stock. The position of my table helped: queues for refreshments, raffle tickets and Santa’s grotto all filed past me and provided a willing captive market. My total sales had been creeping towards one hundred in recent weeks but today’s twenty-eight sales have smashed past the century mark.
So, thanks to all the buyers I met, and to all those who made me welcome, especially, at the heart of the operation, Maggie and Philip.