The Belgrave Buskers Festival was celebrated on the (official) last Saturday of summer.
When we arrived in the afternoon for the twilight market, the last of the bands were wrapping up, sadly. We had hoped that the music would continue for a little longer. Most of the entertainment was staged in various places throughout the town and ended at Earthly Pleasures Café where the market was to be held.
As we were setting up our stall, people descended on us for a look and a lot of sales were made.
So, in between unpacking and placing up on the table, we were almost just as quickly, selling and wrapping clocks, vases, pendants and brooches.
Luckily, I had enough jewellery on hand to replace those sold, but not enough clocks and vases to re-stock the display. Poor planning on my behalf - note to self for the future :)
I was, and am ever-always, grateful for the help of hubby in the setting up and pulling down of my stall. And, when he can stay around, his wrapping of sales is so appreciated - I think we make a great team!
We were placed down by the entrance in the front garden along the wrought iron fence. And, with my back to the road, I could while away the afternoon gazing upon the lovely stone manor – always a treat.
Elizabeth takes lovely photographs throughout Victoria, creating and selling them as postcards and gift cards.
In between sales, Elizabeth serenaded the marketeers and customers in the secluded cloistered gardens with softly sung and gently strummed folk classics on her guitar, adding to the relaxed ambiance.
After the initial rush, all was quiet and hubby left for a while. I took in the atmosphere and enjoyed the dappled sunlight through the trees, grateful, as we didn’t take a market tent.
It was during this time that two young lads, I’d say between seven and nine years old, came over after eyeing my, you-can’t-miss-it-purple table cover and the colourful goodies from a distance.
After asking the price of each item, they looked increasingly disappointed as they surveyed their pockets of change. Their wee faces were so forlorn.
I asked them if there was something on the stall that they liked. They pointed out a number of items, but were sad that they couldn’t buy any of them. One of the boys told me, “I only have a few cents”, and the other chimed in with a “me too”.
I had a notion of why they were at my stall, and my thoughts were confirmed when they told me that they wanted to, “buy something nice for our mum”.
The two of them, standing at my table, each with a small handful of coins in their hands and expressions like Oliver Twist holding his empty bowl forth, tugged at my heartstrings.
I told them, that if they wanted to, they could choose any magnet from my trusty, rusty old display tea kettle, and, pay me what they could afford.
As I said this, I delighted in watching their faces light up, followed by the concentration on making their important decision in choosing “just the right one”.
There was much discussion between them before they settled on a pretty bird magnet in, “the colour that mum loves”.
I said, “you must love your mum a lot”.
Without hesitation, and in unison, they replied, “we do… she’s the best!”
Now, I know I could have picked out a piece and given it to them – and I have no hesitation in donating or giving some of my smaller items free of charge, but in this instance, I felt that the boys wanted to actually purchase something. I think it was important to them, as they could truly say they “bought” a gift for their mum, which would have given that gift, no matter how small, a kind of value in their eyes.
And, they were passing up a bag of lollies for it! I was honoured :)
So, I waved them off with the biggest smiles on their faces, one happily clutching their nicely wrapped purchase. And, as I popped 65¢ into my cash box, I wondered who had the biggest smile, me or the boys.
That pretty much made my day.
And I thought, as much as I love to sell to people who like my stuff enough to buy it without hesitation (which is an honour in itself), it’s the little experiences that make what I do, whenever I can do, worth it.
The favourite ‘character’ of the day - for me - was surprisingly, not a busker or a wandering artist. But, a dog.
A three legged dog.
This dear wiry, wheaten fellow spent much of the afternoon loping from person to person, stall to stall with a grin on his whiskery face and a plea to play in his eyes.
I have a very soft spot for wiry haired “muttleys”. I guess because I have loved Irish Wolfhounds for as long as I can remember. I thought, surely this boy looks as though he has some wolfhound and maybe some lab and/or active kelpie in him?
I asked his owner for his story. It turns out that he was indeed part wolfhound.
He - sadly, I forgot to ask his name, an oversight for me, as I like to know dogs’ names - was a rescue dog who’d had his leg broken as a pup and, due to years of neglect, was turned into a shelter, his back leg badly distorted.
His lovely new people tried very hard to heal his leg, with some success. But in the end, the decision was made to have it removed as there was too much long term damage.
I was told this sturdy, stoic boy was up and running around in three days. He has apparently never looked back ever since then and is a much loved member of their family.
A happy ending from sad beginnings. A heart-warming tale.
Towards late afternoon, as the crowds dispersed, the music-related stalls in our area took down their displays and many ventured off to the taverns and bars in town where the music continued into the evening.
In the front gardens, there remained just our stall, a shiatsu massage tent, lovely hand-made childrens clothing and a little further away, a talented on-the-spot portrait artist.
Looking down from the old building, our lone display did stand out!
A bohemian purple beacon on summer-parched earth among old shady trees in the warm golden afternoon.
Curious people enjoying a meal, later sauntered down for a look and thankfully, some last minute purchases.
So all in all, we didn’t do too badly.
I’m happy to say it was a lovely end to the day and although it wasn't a bustling market, I was more than content to spend my time in such a lovely environment.
Holding a market was a new venture for the good people at Earthly Pleasures, and was trialled in conjunction with the Buskers Fest.
Hopefully, they will consider making it a stand-alone affair with more stalls in the near future. It’s a magical venue and, once word gets out among the locals that there will be further markets, it will go from strength to strength - new markets always take some time to develop a good reputation.
With gear safely packed in the car, we ended the day with a great cup of coffee and for me, a favourite treat - a little homemade cube of Turkish Delight.
Glancing back at the shadow cast stone walls, I secretly hoped that one day soon, I’ll be back again, in “market mode”.
* I would have liked to include more market images on this post, but some stall holders declined my request to place photos of their stalls on my blog.