After all the making, wrapping and packing up, on Thursday I drove to Aberdeen for Crathes Castle Christmas fair. It was time to get my jingle on! I was nervous about the drive: on Lismore the most frequent traffic jams involve cows or sometimes a beagle, neighbours gossiping or a tourist who can’t reverse, and everything takes twenty minutes to get to. I wasn’t sure how my skills at navigating single track roads would translate to four and a half hours cross country – and then back three days later, in the dark. As commutes to work go, however, it was pretty special. It’s a beautiful drive over to the East coast, through Lochearnhead and Perth and up past Dundee. As I travelled the Autumn colours became more and more vibrant and the glow of orange, reds and bronze along the road was breath taking.
Crathes Castle itself was surrounded by trees and walking up to the venue I’ve never seen so many shades of orange. This bright delight was welcome; the skies were granite all weekend.
The thing that makes a fair, for a stall holder, is the people, and they were lovely. There was a strong sense of camaraderie between many of the traders, who were old hands at Crathes, and it was easy to get swept up in the joy of it all. Friends and friends-of-friends came to say hello, and when you’re so far away from home it’s lovely to see a familiar face. And it never fails to surprise me how many people know Lismore, have passed it on a boat or in a kayak, have holidayed here or have cycled along our roads. Almost as many have a cousin, an uncle or a friend who lived here, and this weekend the couple at the stall two down from me had a Liosach living across from them when they lived in Nova Scotia. When I said, ‘Oh my husband will know who that is’, they just laughed but he did, in fact, know exactly who they were. You can take the girl away from Lismore, but you definitely can’t take Lismore away from the girl!
I didn’t have much time for shopping myself, but I did come home with a lovely glass decoration from Hordiys Glass (Hordiys Glass on Folksy), macarons from the_houseofmacarons, something for himself from @StuartsMensGroomingProducts, and I wish I had bought a scarf from Agate and Ayr www.agateandayre.com.
It was great fun and a promising start to the Christmas Fairs to come. I can’t wait to see who I’ll meet and what other crafts people will have next. In the meantime, though, it’s time to turn the kitchen back into a workshop, and I know that up and down the country there are many other artists, crafters and makers who will be doing the same thing, getting ready to bring the best of handmade to a town hall, castle keep or gazebo near you.
I’ll be at the Oban Winter Festival next Saturday, 20 November, at the Distillery. See you there!