Glorious technicolour!In between the ongoing fauna and flora stalking that keeps me smiling in this strange world that we occupy, the gypsy life pulls me once again out of a comfort zone of home living and places me deep in the modern day road tripping lifestyle. This is the world of a new and novel form of retailing. Old-style traveling people would carry their worlds in their caravans and stop from time to time to trade with the village people. Today the vehicles have mutated into large SUV’s and 4×4 trucks, and they arrive in their droves at the allotted times and spaces and miraculously unpack and set up magical mystery retail spaces,selling their wares with energy and passion, for 3,4 or 5 days. Then as if by magic, they break down their elaborate stands,packing them snuggly back into their car-a-vans and are gone, until the next time.
The head spinning life of expo and show-ground trading..always different and always a meeting place for the modern merchants. The past week found me in Pietermaritzburg, Natal at the annual flower show, held in the Royal agricultural show grounds.
It is akin to the Chelsea flower show, but ours…and what an event. Spectacular blasts of sumptuous colour and beautiful blooms.
The theme this year was just up my hedgerow; The response was rainbow nation style, so much colour and creativity that it left me breathless! The main halls contained displays from all over the country and it took me days to absorb the amount of labour and hard work that had gone into the building up, presentation and judging of these colour filled spaces. Roses in abundance!
English country gardens, Indigenous spaces, water wise and space saving, Eco friendly and recycled pathways, Table mountain indoors and flowerbeds taken literally, this was just the tip of the proverbial ‘berg.
Then there are the other extraordinary halls to view, cake icing and allied decorative tricks, orchid sprays made from icing, cakes dripping with crafted sugar blooms, whatever the need, be it wedding or anniversary, they look just too beautiful to sink your teeth into! There is a tree made entirely of edible substances, which towers over all, again I am left amazed by the skills out there in the world.
The Midlands quilters too are there, a hall filled with many hours worth of quilting skills, all made to the theme and cascading colour. All the crafters are chatting like weaverbirds amongst themselves, happy to share their ideas with the passers by.
Orchid boffs share tips and secrets whilst displaying their achievements, and it is possible to buy some of the most exquisite examples or just take in the award winning plants, gasping with glee at some of the more delicate and tiny examples.
I could go on forever, but the reason for being there was to work..gypsy style on a stand, with people streaming through those merchandise filled halls, chatting and smiling, and buying up a storm, even on the afternoon that the heaven’s opened and thunder and lightning ruled over us, a different kind of storm which bonded us all together.
The local lads from Voortrekker High School were there as barrow boys, offering their wheel barrows to customers whose arms were groaning under the weight of retail therapy. Through rain and shine from early until late these young men served the public for a mere tip, collecting for their matric dance effort always smiling and ever ready.
Sadly I heard that very often their efforts went unrewarded.
A funny old world, people spend lots on “treasure” but sometimes overlook the little gestures.
It was however, a fabulous week away..made more interesting because the car-a-van that was due to deliver our particular greens,
broke down and left the party before even finding it’s space in front of our stand.
A very special person rescued the situation and although our roadster landed up in in workshop for the duration…the show must go on, and so it did!
The colour filled life of a gypsy continues, with just more stories to tell at the next meeting point, more pictures to paint and more people to meet.
All ways..different every time.