Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Number 22: have a stand at a craft fair

This is another instance when I'm blogging an event twice, because this 52 is not just significant as a first for me, but also as a first for my little craft world, says alice.

I have had an online craft world for a while, and also sell through the Grapevine, an art gallery and  craft shop in Norwich. But I haven't got myself out there doing the selling by setting up a craft stall.

I was lucky enough to be offered an opportunity to do one for free, so I thought it would be a good time to get myself organised and have a go. I have a fair bit of stock of bunitng so that was fine, but I have only made pictures and bags to order so far, so I rustled up a few of those to have on display.

Then I set about getting a cash box, paper bags, blutac, highlighter pens, receipt books, a table cloth, picture frames, a blackboard and everything else you could possibly ever need for a day in a marquee selling bunting. Everything. I think the event cost me more than it made, but, as people keep pointing out, I now have everything I could possibly ever need to do it again. So that's good.

And I think I probably will, do it again that is. It was a really lovely event to be part of an great to chat with other exhibitors who do a few events like it. And I learned a lot too about the kind of people who do / don't buy. Or pick things up and show them to everyone then plonk them down again. Or leave empty crisp packets and drinks cartons on your stall. Yes, really!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Number 21ish: becoming a Thatter

I'm not sure which part of this one will qualify as a first exactly, but it is going in anyway because the utter exhaustion caused by this trip has directly impacted on the success of other 52s and because it was truly a one off.
I feel I should say this in a confessional whisper... I went to see Take That!

Having abjectly failed in the melee to get tickets online, despite going slightly cross-eyed staring at a constantly refreshing screen and watching progress loops go round and round and round, I gave up on Take That as a bad job. But then, months later, a friend (who is a Pet Shop Boys fan, not a Take That fan) spotted that there were still tickets available for Manchester through the main ticket seller. One small hit on a credit card later and we had booked.

The event itself was amazing - a truly massive production. There is something quite surreal about singing alongside 55,000 other people (menopausal ladies), at the top of your voice, for two and a half hours straight. I'm not a huge Take That fan (I listened to the album on my ipod for the first time on the coach on the way there) but I knew every single song. Robbie made us cry, they all made us laugh and the rain held off. It really was a great night out.

The other experience was the return coach trip which worked out to be 7 hours each way. We were collected at 11am and I walked back in through the front door at 6.45am. Message to the three ladies who decided to wander back to the coach via a bar - you'll make no friends that way...


It might seem like I'm having a bit of a 52 holiday, despite lagging behind.

But I am going for an Andy Murray late finish and am keeping you all in suspense. That doesn't mean I'm not behind (I clearly am) but I will get there eventually!

The observant among you may notice that's not Andy Murray playing, but it is the best I can do from our Wimbledon trip several years ago!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Number 20: listography

This might take a couple of days to put together so it might move down the lists. But I'm nothing if not committed (and lagging behind in my 52) so here I go...
There is a blog called Kate Takes 5 which is a mix of lovely bloggishness and weekly challenges to write 'a list of 5'. The list of challenges varies widely, but most recently has included top 5 albums by a band and top 5 products you can't live without. This week it is 'top 5 decisions you are glad you have made'. So here goes.

1 - buying a Mini
I always classify this as the most expensive flirting I have ever done. The order of events went something like this: decide to buy new car, ask people for recommendations, get introduced to a friend-of-a-friend who has a Mini, flirt outrageously, find myself committed to buying a car, get together with aforementioned friend-of-a-friend, move in together (achieving a 2 Mini household), get married, the end. Expensive, but effective!
Postscript - we still have a Mini. We love 'em.

2 - present my research at a conference
Having managed to get through school and sixth form with the minimum level of commitment and correspondingly tragic level of pass rate, I found myself somewhat bemused to be actually good at higher education. More than that, I actually enjoyed it.
At the end of my first degree I was offered the opportunity to present my work at an academic conference. The entire experience was so extremely terrifying that I have blanked most of it out. I just have one clear memory of someone asking me a question no human being in the world knew the answer to and stammering that I would do my best to find out. Cue polite laughter. Yet not as catastrophic as it might sound.
The transcript went on to be published in an actual real book. Furthermore, I was offered a place at Cambridge to continue the research, which I never took up as I had to go to the States to look at primary research. I got a job to save the money to make the trip and never went back to uni. One day, I just might start again.
I could have said no to that conference as too much like hard work, but I am really pleased that I didn't.

3 - lig about for a year in Wales
When my academic career was looking its most shaky, I chose (was forced) to take a year off to recoup my losses (retake my exams). I did the minimum necessary, then looked about for something to do to fill the remaining 11 months.
I saw an advert for kitchen staff in a childrens activity centre in Wales, applied, got the job and caught a train to nowhere. Followed by another train, a couple of buses, a bit of walking, a mini-bus and a paddle through a flooded field to my caravan.
The year that followed was unike any before or since. I spent all day and every day outside, rain or shine, walked every hill in sight, made some amazing friends, drank, ate, chatted and learned tons, not least how to go orienteering using a blind horse as a landmark. I might have smelled a bit (mainly because I stopped washing my hair) but I had a ball.

4 - bring home the Muppet
With no disloyalty intended to Jester, the bestest cat in catland, I have to chalk up the decision to take the little scrap that was Muppet home as one that's right up at the top of the list.
He was the only one of a litter of kittens that could be caught, which turned out to be because he was so ill. The litter was from a very troubled home with animals everywhere, so pretty much all of them had injuries, pests and diseases. Mups had a sizable dose of the lot.
I took him straight to the vet who told me to keep him in isolation from Jester until he was two weeks free of symptoms and I almost decided to find another home for him, to keep Jester safe. I didn't, and took him home armed with a truck load of medicines.
I am pretty sure the first dose of wormer nearly killed him. However he battled through and slowly but surely grew up to become the stupidest, fattest, scardiest, most lovable cat ever. He could only process one thought at a time and all of them were in capital letters.
He was our best friend and we were very very sad when he fell ill and died six years later.

5 - getting my other ear pierced.
There was no reason just to have one done at all. But once one was done, I stubbornly refused to have the other done. For TEN YEARS. What was that all about?
Now I have both and can wear a whole pair of earrings at a one time.

And that's my five. I quite enjoyed it and might pay Kate a visit again :-)

Scavenging: the May list

Was it me, or was everything moving too fast to take a picture of this week?
Bicycles, emergency vehicles, butterflies - I spent half my month chasing things that won't stand still! The butterfly is the worst example, but I scared everything for miles aroound by jumping up and down and cheering when I finally got one in the frame. However blurry it was! Do they never land??

It has also been a ridiculously busy couple of weeks, meaning that this update is almost a whole week late. I'm about to scan through all the other entries to see how everyone else has done - looking forward to better butterflies than mine!