Jodie & I close the shop for one day and what happens? The boiler goes on the blink…Fortunately, Mark the trusty plumber has shown up and the shop is now warm enough again for you lovelies to try on some clothes and my fingers can feel the keys to type once more!

We decided to close because we needed to pay our first official visit to the Spring Fair last Sunday, 5th Feb. Held at the NEC – covering the entire NEC, is a humungous annual event for trade where wholesalers of all manner of weird and wonderful goodies tempt the likes of Jodie & me to stock our little shops with their wares.

Scenes from the Spring Fair 2017

Earlier in the week Fergus,  Jodie’s rather elderly, although ordinarily perfectly functioning little car, decided to break rather badly and all other options for transportation from Ludlow to the NEC on a Sunday were limited at such short notice – people whose cars we might have purloined were away and so on…We were left with no choice. It was Bertha or stop-at-home!

Bertha is Jodie’s even more elderly and somewhat less functional, Land Rover Defender. Being ‘off the Hill’ I’m quite used to Land Rover’s and tractors and agricultural vehicles of most sorts: However, Bertha doesn’t have a heater and has a tendency to burn more oil than diesel. The decision to go to the Fair had been made though; so, Jodie and myself being the hugely adventurous types we are (SNORT!) wrapped up warm (not warm enough as it turned out) and braced ourselves for the M42 at a maximum cruising speed of approximately 49mph as Jodie had been warned anything over fifty and we were in potential oil guzzling mode and possible seizure….Armed with RAC recovery card, off we set Sunday morning.

Big, beautiful & blue Bertha

As we negotiated the somewhat twisty turny road between Tenbury and Worcester, Jodie amiably quipped that I wasn’t to worry (I must have looked worried I thought) that she’d take it steady on the bends as she’d turned her (Bertha) over once and didn’t much fancy repeating it. This relaxed me no end, as you can imagine, and I’m sure I must have recounted some ‘Hail Mary’s’ at this point as I really didn’t want to die before we’d been shopping…

We arrived at the NEC completely unscathed despite a juggernaut nearly rear-ending us in an overtaking manouvre he can only have learned on a computer console. (HE was overtaking US…just!) We were also somewhat dithery and set off in search of scaldingly hot coffee and the Ladies before attempting to appear the sophisticate and business like professional women we are (SNORT 2!).

As an aside, I HATE shopping (although a Devil for a bargain) and crowds and trade-shows, so I wasn’t perhaps at my best as we began our trawl through Hall after Hall filled with so many and varied things to buy that I began to understand the scale of this show – It is HUGE! Jodie, who is always incredibly thoughtful and kind and super organised, steered me through and along walkways to ‘our bit’ and then we got stuck in! We were on the lookout for accessories and BOY oh BOY did we find some.

Jodie had mapped it all out and pretty soon we found the most amazingly beautiful gemstone & silver jewellery – the kind we’ve been on the lookout for since opening. We placed an order and WHOOP WHOOP it’s being delivered this weekend! I will tell you all about the crystals and stones in future posts…

What only seemed like five minutes later (in fact six hours later) we’d walked ourselves out and took a breather. We’d had a successful day! We’d found all of the new eclectica goodies we were hoping for and even had chance to meet up with the wonderfully talented Anthea Kitching who supplies us with her lovely ‘Kitchy & Co’ animal greetings cards and prints, photographed by her on her farm in Yorkshire. It was great for me to meet her and see the lady behind the lens. All of her humour and warmth are there in her cards, which are astonishingly good…seriously, come and look.

Kitchy & Co founder Anthea next to products featuring her photography on display at the Spring Fair

Deciding it was probably best for us to head home, we split the show. I had a hot date (SNORT 3!) No, quite literally as I travelled home in a car with a heater. I felt incredibly mean leaving Jodie and Bertha to negotiate more lorries and darkness too on their way back to the Shire. Bertha’s lights have dimmed somewhat with age and are a tad hit and miss…I did request that Jodie let me know once she’d made it back, which she duly did although she’s just told me today she got overtaken by another juggernaut on the way home – one carrying a house! It’s official; moving home is faster than moving Bertha! It may well have been too much for my fragile nerves…especially after all those people and all that shopping!

It really was an adventurous day and I’m certain it’s on our calendar for next year already. All of the jewellery, scarves, bags & eclectic bits and bobs we chose will be in the shop as soon as and I’ll write & tell you about them when they arrive.

Vicki X

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