Home from a merry afternoon’s bookselling in the New Forest, I started remembering how some of my earliest stallholding antics involved outdoor trading. At 21 or so, long before fetish markets (or, indeed, before working out that I might be kinky) I spent a few weekends peddling home-made jewellery and used odds and ends at a local tat market. It was late in the year so usually bloody cold, sometimes wet and rarely lucrative, but I still enjoyed it most of the time.
Mostly, selling #naughtybooks or any other adult products means that outdoor trading isn’t a thing: community fetes and so on tend to be full of children, vanilla adults and respectable types – though I do recall a shortlived attempt at running an erotica section in one corner of a famous street market in the late 90s. (No, it didn’t go very well.). The Plague TImes changed that, of course: outdoor trading was about the best, if not the only, option.
The British climate is not always a friend to those who want to trade outdoors, and books, particularly, are not the best line to trade in when the weather is being hostile. Having previously had an outdoor day job, about which I would wax lyrical when it stayed dry, at least, I was generally first in the queue when a gig in a field was announced. Last weekend’s event was possibly something of a weather gamble, but it was one that paid off: relatively mild with only a small shower of rain. And there was lovely scenery and good company. And I had a gazebo, warm footwear and my winter knickers on.
It’s lovely to be able to trade indoors again but I can’t help hoping that next year will offer at least a few more opportunities to get out in the field with a bag full of books in need of new homes…