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Vena McGrath

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Member Since: Feb, 2004

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The First Market Day
Monday, August 22, 2005  5:05:00 AM

by Vena McGrath



Humor
My first market day as a seller didn't turn out the way I hoped.

Yesterday, Sunday August 21, my partner Bryan and I decided to try our luck at a market day. I wanted to see if I could sell some books, create some interest in the book even, and Bryan had his toys to sell. We decided on the Kiama Seaside Markets as we had visited the last market day there in July and were very impressed. The venue is idyllic, in a park by the sea with the ocean gently breaking against the rocks onshore. The market stalls stretch almost across one side of the park along the water's edge, and back towards the roadway. The sellers can either face their stalls to the sea, or to the inner part of the park. The buyers have a concrete pathway to use to access all those stalls close to the water, and grassed areas to walk across for the other stalls.

It's a craft market so there are no stalls selling imported or shop goods. There are of course second hand book stalls but the majority are selling goods made by the stall holders or their families. It's a wonderful, colourful market, and as it's only on once a month, it draws large crowds from 9.00 am until 3.30 pm each time it's held. There are a few food stalls selling wonderful cakes and bread and vegetables.

As Kiama is quite a distance from where we live (near Penrith), we set out from home at 5.30 am. Bryan was up until 2.30 am finishing off his toys, and I hit the sack at 1.30 am after helping him all I could, doing a bit of work on the computer, and catching up with a chat friend who lives in Kiama to tell her we would be down there later in the morning. At around 4.00 am the clock radio swung into gear... LOUDLY! I almost fell out of my waterbed, which is difficult to achieve, with fright wondering what on earth the noise was. I ended up kicking Bryan out of bed first (not literally, just ear bashed him a bit lol) and some time later I managed to crawl out. Bryan packed the car and I got myself ready ... I had to do the important things like get dressed and do my make-up and hair.

It was a fairly cold morning as we are still in winter, and we left home in the dark, on our 2 hour trip. Saturday had been a horrible day as far as the weather went, and it was a wonderful surprise to see the sun come up and a clear sky emerge. I wasn't too sure about which way to go to Kiama and decided to go a different way; one that my daughter assured me was quicker and a better drive. I made a fatal error in a right hand turn and we ended up on a freeway that seemed to have no left hand exits! I knew we were heading south, for Goulburn actually which is on the way to Melbourne, certainly not east to the sea. I was sure there was a turnoff to Kiama, but it wasn't long and I began to feel a bit afraid that I had taken us on a wrong road. And I was right, it was wrong.

I finally suggested to Bryan that we exit to Moss Vale, not telling him where I thought Moss Vale was. He is from northern NSW and knows nothing much at all about south of Sydney. Actually he knows nothing much about Sydney either! Anyhow off we went and headed for Moss Vale until we hit a T intersection and I wasn't real sure then where we should go. Bryan opted for left, he was sure it headed east. Trouble was around the next bend we seemed to be heading directly west. I started to fidget and chew my fingers. I was worried, not that we had to be anywhere really, but we were both so excited about doing the market. It was now 7.30 and we had been on the road 2 hours. We should have been at Kiama, but we were lost.

I saw a man walking along the road up ahead so Bryan stopped the car and called out asking which way to Kiama. The man scratched his head and looked at us disbelievingly. "You're about one and a half hours away from Kiama" he said as our mouths dropped open. After getting directions on how to find the right road to head east, we took off and found ourselves eventually on a Scenic Tourist Route. Now this was some tourist road. It was barely wide enough for one car, let alone another one coming the other way. The sign said "7km of winding road" and that was very true , it wound alarmingly, all downhill, with the car hanging off the side of the cliff it seemed at times. We came into the rain forest and it was very pretty, but I was too nervous to appreciate it.

"Hope we find a servo soon", Bryan said. I glanced over at him and my heart sank. "Had half a tank when we left home, now it's almost empty", he added. I moved slightly so I could see the fuel gauge and felt very ill then. I had these visions of the car running out of petrol, nowhere on the road to pull over, Bryan having to walk to find help (on a road where there appeared to be no human life), and me having to stay in the car alone, waiting. I silently prayed to whatever God might exist that we wouldn't run out of petrol and, at the bottom of the 7km winding road we hit Jamberoo, and I saw it up in front, a servo sign! I almost jumped out of the car and ran ahead to stake my claim on one of the bowsers I was so excited.

Fuel was extremely expensive there so we only put in $20 worth - I think it was $1.26 a litre so $20 didn't buy much fuel, just enough to get us to Kiama. The sign said "Kiama 10km" so off we sped and eventually arrived at the gate to the park at 8.30 am, one hour late. I suggested to Bryan that he explain to the woman sitting at the gateway collecting money and allotting spaces, that we had car trouble on the way from Penrith. It wasn't a lie really, as the car was trouble, it headed in the wrong direction! She was very understanding fortunately, and took Bryan for a walk so he could choose our spot. He came back and drove us around the park to where we were to set up, unloaded the car, left me there with our bits and pieces, and headed off out of the park up through town to the public carpark.

Upon Bryan's return we began to set up our stall area. I had bought us a pergola type contraption to keep the sun off and protect us a bit if it rained so it came out of its box first. I looked at it with my usual disinterested look at anything that comes out of a box in pieces. Bryan found the directions for erection and started putting all the pieces of rod together to build the roof trusses and the legs. I started to straighten out the cover that was all squashed in the box. The wind was coming up and I had to stand on part of it so it didn't blow away.

A young chinese couple has the stall area behind us and were sitting looking out to sea before we plonked ourselves in front of them. I saw them watching us with interest, grins on their faces and figured what they may be thinking. Two old farts trying to set up a stall who obviously had never had the pergola out of the box before. Bryan eventually started to put the pieces together and I think it was all too much for the Chinese guy as he wandered over and asked if we would like some help. Would we? Wasn't long then before the men had the thing erected and we thanked our helper gushingly before setting about putting up our tables and arranging our goods on them.

Finally we had ourselves sorted out and settled down for a cup of coffee before the market officially started. People were already wandering around and the day was just superb weatherwise. The sea looked dreamy and the air was fresh but not too cool. The sun was a delight on our backs as we sipped our coffee and laughed together about our trip down from home and getting lost. As the day wore on the crowd grew and a lot of people stopped and looked at Bryan's toys, remarking how lovely they were, well made, how much time must go into each toy, have you been to this market before to sell, are you coming back next month etc etc. Many lookers, many touchers, but few reaching into their purses or wallets. However, Bryan did sell three toys and that paid for the cost of the stall. I, on the other hand, didn't sell a book. I also had a few people chat to me about the book and the Internet, but no buyers. Disappointment but the result wasn't unexpected. I'm thinking of ways that I could get Bryan to make furniture out of the 480 books or so I must have left in the house if I can't sell any of them.

We had our lunch that I had packed, chicken on bread with tomato and cheese and coffee we made ourselves with the hot water in the thermos flask. Our stall was set up near the Lions Club stall that was selling steak sandwiches and sausage sandwiches, so the chicken was a bit boring after smelling onions from the time we arrived. Around 2.00 pm we became drowsy after almost no sleep for about 32 hours or so, and we sat there next to each other, in our chairs and snoozed. My daughter remarked later that night when I told her of our adventure that it was no wonder we didn't sell anything, we were asleep!

Eventually 3.00 pm arrived and we packed up. Bryan had to make the long trek, uphill this time, to retrieve the car and I impatiently waited at the site for him to come back so we could go home. The wind had picked up by this time and we had fun pulling down the pergola, not. No way could we get it back in the box so we just did the best we could and tossed it all in the back of the stationwagon. Gear once again packed, we set off home. We bought more fuel and I settled down to have a snooze. I woke up sometime later and Bryan said, "were we supposed to turn off on a road that said to Picton?" I replied in the affirmative and he said, "oh oh, I passed that a while ago". Why wasn't I surprised?

We found another exit before we hit Brisbane (joking of course) and ended up arriving home around 6.00 pm. We dragged all our mess inside and I unpacked and Bryan cooked us a quick but tasty dinner. We ate, cleaned up, and then we decided not long after that it was too hard to stay awake and we should hit bed. I'd already had a shower so I hit the bed first and was almost asleep by the time Bryan got there. I tried hard to not feel guilty this morning and to stay in bed and feign illness, but like a good robot that I am, I rolled out and got ready for work. I left Bryan in bed sleeping away like a baby and he finally arose just before I left for work.

We were disappointed in sales and yet we had a great day with lots of laughter, and just enjoyed being where we were, out of the house, in the sea air, together.

That's the story of my first market day as a seller and our first market day together as a team. I think next market day I'll let Bryan go early and I'll make my way there later in the morning. He is after all the marketer, I'm just the novice having a bit of fun doing things I've never done before. I'm hoping that the next market he goes to will bring him some much needed sales and I'll keep working on the idea for furniture items to make out of all those green covered books I have stashed in cupboards in boxes.

Until next time and hoping whoever reads this enjoys the laugh.

Vena


Secrets, Lies and Chat

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Reviews for Secrets, Lies & Chat - 5/14/2005 6:36:00 AM

A Big Disappointment - Today Tonight - 4/21/2005 3:07:00 AM

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Interview with Today Tonight (today) - 2/9/2005 3:04:00 AM

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Local Press Article 1 December 2004 - 11/27/2004 6:21:00 AM

The Customer Is Always Right Except When It Is You! - 9/23/2004 2:12:00 AM

An Update on Spam - August 2004 - 8/23/2004 1:37:00 AM


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