Urghh, as l ease myself into the office chair, & 'wheel' myself before the computer, l think 'oh isn't it wonderful to sit down'. As you can read, l have returned to my little corner after what you could call a few 'hectic' days.
What a bloody washout, are the words that readily come to mind, to describe the bank holiday weekend, and cold......well l had to get the thermals out to prevent hypothermia.
As so much has happened during the past few days, l guess the best way to record events is to do a 'diary style' format so that if you become bored with a] my atrocious spelling & b] my appalling grammar you can skip to the pictures.
Saturday 26th Young Farmers Rally:
Day started bright with blue skies & warm sunshine. Young Harry set off nice and early for the club rendezvous at local pub. The tardis was duly taken to the rally site to await arrival of staff [me] a little later.
Back at base normal routine was only interrupted by the arrival of Hawk Man & his selection of falcon & ferrets. So far into the day, all going to plan - l like it - & so it was for the remainder of the day. l went through to Burton Agnes to set up the Tardis for business with KS arriving spot on time after her driving lesson to take over. Harry took part in his classes, not actually winning but not doing at all badly for a first timer. KS sold loads of cones & Harry's club won the overall competition. Clap, clap, clap. Couldn't really have asked for a better day, could things be going too smoothly l should have asked myself? During the afternoon l collected all the supplies that would be needed for Castle Howard. Things like cones, [chocolate & plain waffle], flakes, fudge sticks, ice cream [VERY important] & at about 4.30 Hubby & myself headed over to the show site to set up our 'pitch'. All went swimmingly.
Later that evening, l saw the weather forecast.
Sunday 27th 06.30
One look out of the window said it all. Gloominess was the word for the day. Rain as l took the dogs out, rain as l waiting for LW, rain as l picked up sister in law. Brightness driving over the wolds offering fine views over the Vale of Pickering. Dry as l drove up the Beech Avenue & still dry as l parked on the lawns in front of the great house. Cold on entering the marquee. Surely things would now get better.
WRONG: the atmosphere at the food festival was unpleasant l think is the word that best describes it. Certainly the terrible forecast had no kept the hordes away. They were there in their thousands, [and here l will apologies to those that were there on Sunday. The majority attending were only after one thing & that was a certain James Martin. OK he was the star chef & yes l know he is a celebrity & all that, but, this was to be a food festival highlighting the glorious food found in Yorkshire. OH it was a nightmare.
There was only ONE exit from the marquee.
As the 600 paying customers who had watched JM left the cookery theatre they had to walk, or rather force themselves along jam packed aisle [see pics] to the exit & the JM book signing sessions. They were waiting / queuing for 20 minutes to get to the Great Man himself.
Us food producers just talked amongst ourselves trying to pass the time of day. There was little else to do, as when the visitors actually could walk around the large marquee all they wanted was freebies. Free beer tastings, free cider tastings, free cake tastings, free cheese tastings, free ice cream - NO - & seemed to be very reluctant to have to pay or buy anything, with the exception of foods that could be 'troughed on the hoof 'shall we say.
Needless to say we, & l mean us the stall holders ,were not exactly happy about this, we felt rather like 'side show bob' or the 'also rans'.
Left feeling pissed off & threatening not to go again.
forecast: cold, heavy rain, high winds
Decided that it wasn't worth taking 3 of us at it was a waste of time, you can see that l was not a happy bunny. Plan of attack would be as a marketing exercise. My goal for the day would be to hand out 1000 pamphlets, & to make sure that l had enough layers on to keep warm.
The drive to Malton was in heavy rain. A cloud burst opened like a power shower as we raced into the marquee. All us food producers were in cracking form however laughing in the face of adversity,torrential rain forecasts & the prospect of another day of pitiful sales.
The first batch of visitors started to trickle in, & there l was in 4 jumpers, a scarf plus body warmer waiting to accost the first of them with brochures.
The mood of Monday's general public was the complete change to that of the previous day. These lot chatted, joked, asked questions, BOUGHT ICE CREAM, well l told them that eating ice cream would lower their core temperature & make them feel warmer! Do you know it worked.
Crowd control was also 500% better, we now had a large exit immediately around the corner from us, people could walk outside on leaving the theatre, another exit was opened mid-way along the tent as well. Was this the same Ryedale Food Festival that l had attended the previous day?
l am really glad that l went yesterday, the atmosphere, the crowds were great. l know the weather was not good, however the weather was only wet first thing & we did have a little bit of sunshine, but again it didn't keep the crowds away, it was just the right type of crowds shall we say, the genuine foodaholics who appreciate good, wholesome, delicious local food produced by people who have an absolute passion for their produce rather than the James Martin Groupies.
l had an in fantastic in depth chat about a new product idea for us with a Michelin starred chef who had as much enthusiasm for the idea as did l.
And did l see the great James martin? Yes. Did l speak to him? Yes. What did l think? Don't ask.
PS: l've just tucked into my 'freebies' [swaps 4 ice cream], Sand Hutton asparagus followed by Grant Burton's garlic & chive bangers with jersey royal potatoes.
PPS: The favourite flavour of the day was .......... chocoalte ice cream with fudge brownies!!!