Saturday 1496 – 26th November 2011
I headed off to Norfolk today with a friend of mine – to a craft fair at Sandringham, the country retreat of the Queen. We didn’t see her! In fact we didn’t see the house either as the fair was held in a field on the Sandringham estate but some way from the house itself, with stands either outside …brrrr… or inside several large marquees …much warmer 🙂
We chatted in the car on the way there and I mentioned that although I loved visiting large country houses this was always tainted for me by the thought that these huge houses were probably built, maintained and serviced daily with the labour of people who worked very long hours indeed for very little pay.
My friend had a different take on it as her father had been a head gardener for 35 years in a large country house and she spoke of the paternalistic society where the owner of the “big house” took care of the people who worked for him seeming to have a genuine interest in their welfare. She described how her father had loved working there.
Whichever of these views is correct and I suspect both are, there can be little doubt that the owners of such houses in the 19th and into the 20th Century had almost total control over the staff who worked for them as this was a class ridden, hierarchical society characterised by each person knowing their place and a common sense of duty.
Enough of that on to the Christmas fair – it still doesn’t feel quite right to me having Christmas fairs in November. My friend mentioned that she was at an event in October and there were Christmas carols being played. In OCTOBER even before Halloween! I’m a bit old-fashioned about this one as I believe Christmassy goods and decorations should be kept out of the shops until the 1st week in December. This would keep it a bit more special ( and hopefully less commercialised)
I can remember the thrill I experienced as a child when our local furniture store revealed their Christmas window at the very beginning of December. The window always had moving electronic scenes like a train through the mountains or santa’s sleigh complete with galloping reindeer ( well maybe galloping is stretching the point a bit! ) or people wrapped up in scarves skating on ice.. Whatever the scene was it always felt magical to me and the town’s Christmas lights were switched on at the same time.
As for the crafts at Sandringham? Well there was an awful lot of what could only be described as tat, some stuff that had very obviously been mass-produced and still more that was nothing to do with crafts at all but in between all that, were a few stalls that were selling lovely genuine hand crafted stuff and below are just a few items ( as well as a couple of faces! ) that caught my photographers eye.
Which of the last 2 wins the moustache competition ?!
There were 2 stalls that stood out above the rest for me..
The 1st was called “Mad about Nature” – hand-made soaps and skin care products beautifully packaged and the stallholder very engaging. Both of these are terribly important when you are selling your creations directly to the public. This stall was dear to my heart as I used to make and sell handmade soaps at craft fairs some 10 years or so ago ( I searched my computer for photos but they must have been pre-digital! )
the 2nd was Julia Hulmes sculpture. Her work is gorgeous. Animals created in Cold Cast bronze or clay each with its own character.
So what did I buy at the fair ?
These little bronze resin mice from Julia..
I’m not an ornamenty sort of person but I found the faces on these ( and I think faces are what sets Julia apart from others) to be entirely irresistible. Though I covet one of her large hares…Ah… maybe someday 🙂
Saturday girl signing off ’til Saturday 1495. Maybe something more serious? who knows … have a good week all.
PS – ordered my new camera this week but it hasn’t arrived yet 😦
PPS – The names Mad About Nature and Julia Holmes are links to their respective websites..