A day in the sun

Our first Jam Tarts stand at the famous Kirstenbosch market!

Please take note of our beautiful new business cards, we are very proud of them! (Thanks, Anne, for organising). That’s Anne in the white top with the money bag optimistically round her waist, me in the middle, Karen on the right, and Megan rearranging everything a hundred times more appealingly after we’d set it all out.

When we arrived, as ‘guest stallholders’ we had to check in at the office and find our location. Meeting the organiser in person after a protracted email correspondence was a strong reminder that Cape Town really is a village – Tessa and I used to work together at the Argus newspaper 26 years ago when I first moved down from Joburg! We had a quick chat, mainly about the shortage of decent men in Cape Town, before getting down to business. She told me not to expect to do well on our first day because it takes a while to ‘get noticed’ and build up a customer base. A bit spirit-dampening but maybe she was right.

Ant and Rob set up our gazebo (borrowed from Faiza – thanks, friend), which didn’t seem nearly as enormous as the unpacked weight of it suggested it would be. I couldn’t even lift it, it was so heavy, and on Friday Sizwe had kindly trundled it on a trolley to my car for me. I hope I can find him when I go into work in two hours time.

The Kirstenbosch market is a very old and well-known one in Cape Town, it’s probably been going for over 30 years. The setting can’t really be beaten, situated in the meadow around the 18th century Stone Cottages built by the busy Dutch, across the road from the botanical gardens. On one side, you can buy fresh farm veggies and fruit, honey and jam and biltong, and have a ride on a horse. In the middle (sort of) you can get teas, coffees (choice of filter or nescafe), and ready-made grub. Sit at a table or plonk yourself on the grass in the shade of an oak tree. The side closest to Newlands Avenue is a sea of colourful gazebos and umbrellas and bunting, with all the crafters and their wares.

The general consensus was that yesterday was a quieter day than usual, but there were still stacks of people (some with dogs – yuck) (sorry dog lovers, but if you all carried poop scoops with you I’d be a lot less anti) and we made enough sales to cover our costs and still be keen to go back next month. I was the unofficial networker of the group so did quite a few laps handing out our cards and making new stallholder friends and yakking away like the sociable chatty friendly person I have to try to be in situations like this.

Of course, with so much gorgeous stuff around it was hard not to want to spend one’s money at other people’s stalls. Karen was very strict with me and I wasn’t allowed to buy anything until I had sold at least one thing of my own. She changed her tune a bit after she’d had a trot round and found some garnet earrings that she felt were entirely essential. Anne was very disciplined and mostly sat in the shade with a cup of tea and a cheese sandwich, crocheting the pink and lilac flowers for a new baby blanket.

The items which drew most people to us were Karen’s and Anne’s blankets, which really are works of art. They aren’t ‘cheap’ because they’re made with best-quality wool and cotton and a lot of practiced work and new design ideas, but they are realistically priced and we believe they’ll find good homes soon :) As did we, after 3 o’clock when we’d packed up and done the reckonings.

Next Kirstenbosch market = 22 April.

To be continued…

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