After a five-month break after our last event of 2017, way back last September, Sunday 11th March saw us back on the road again when we set up our stall in the Digby Hall in Sherborne for the first of the series of Charity Specialist Plant Fairs held in a variety of locations in Dorset. Rob was flying solo for this engagement, and he found it something of a shock to the system rediscovering the joys of rising with the lark and other assorted birds to get on the road in the Paddock Plants van.
There was a bit of a falling out between Rob and Sean the Satnav: the route was straightforward enough – up to Salisbury, then follow the A30 to Sherborne – but Sean had his own ideas on the subject and decided to seek out the A303 for some reason, resulting in a final few miles of cross country hack on narrow single track roads still boasting a few feet of snow on the verge that clearly didn’t catch the sun a full week after things had pretty much thawed in the civilised world.
An indoor show was a novelty for us and a bit of a challenge, too, as the early season date and the recent cold weather combined to limit the range of garden plants that were looking good enough to win a place in the van. So there quite a few cacti, succulents and other indoor plants in the selection that faced the good people of Sherborne on Mothering Sunday. The facts that it was that particular special occasion and that the fair had moved from its previous Saturday slot combined to reduce the numbers who paid at the door (or so we were told by the organiser, as it was our first time there) so Rob wasn’t exactly rushed off his feet. Nonetheless, plants were sold, with Dianella Little Devil and Aloe White Beauty proving popular choices in the outdoor and indoor departments respectively.
Being inside had its benefits – it was nice to be out of the wind and risk of rain for starters – but the downside was that setting up and breaking down the display took a lot longer than usual, as everything had to be carried some distance between our space in the hall and the van in the car park. Our display was rather more extensive than some others, so Rob, being on his own, ended up as last man standing when the fair was over. But, much to the caretaker’s relief, he did finally complete his packing up and was on the road home, through the torrential rain that suddenly arrived and with Sean the Satnav firmly on silent.
Now we have a month before our next event, back in Dorset again but this time out of doors. Which is just as well, as we are way behind in our potting up schedule thanks to the cold early season and the Beast from the East 2.0 is due to arrive this coming weekend. To see the Paddock Plants 2018 show schedule, just take a look here.
Rob and Joanna – March 2018