Tuesday, 17 June 2014

War on the Great Central Railway

Last weekend, we took a trip to the Great Central Railway for their wonderful wartime event. 

We love this railway, wartime event or not!  It boasts ?? miles of track, and they have an impressive collection of traction, of both the steam and diesel variety.  With my Mr being a bit of a train buff, his enthusiasm for traction and a well run railway station has rubbed off on my girlies and me!!

Anyhow, our home for this most enjoyable weekend was the general waiting room on Quorn and Woodhouse station. 

The space we have there is smaller than we are normally used to, so we aren’t able to take our full compliment of stock, but the space has so much character, that we don’t mind taking slightly less stuff with us.  A major plus point of being in the waiting room is that it is clean.  Coal dust and original ‘40s clothing don’t mix that well, so we are happy to have it all safely tucked inside, away from the smuts and smoke of the engines.  The room also gets locked at the end of the day, so we can head back to the hotel, knowing that all is safely under lock and key!





The station staff at Quorn are absolutely brilliant.  They were all helpful and friendly, and certainly made the weekend more enjoyable.  What I didn’t realise, until late on Sunday, was that the station staff are all volunteers, which makes the job they do even more commendable, especially when they were faced with numpties who seemed not to understand that standing on the edge of the platform, with a considerable tonnage of engine heading towards them, wasn’t the most sensible thing in the world to do!! ;o)

As to the event itself, it is brilliantly run, and clearly has a dedicated team behind it.  Every member of staff we met was nice, which sadly isn’t always the case at these events.  There was plenty for the public to see, with battles and parades, static vehicles and displays, including a Spitfire on the Sunday.  We felt that the re-enactors and traders were really well catered for, with great food outlets, good camping, and great facilities.  And what’s more, there was evening entertainment and a bar, to help wile away the evening. 

As is generally the case with such events, I tend not to get the chance to stray far from base, and this weekend was no exception, and I only made it into Quorn yard to have a look at what some of the other traders had on offer, as you do, so sadly my pictures aren’t the best.










There were lots of highs to the weekend.  For the most part, the sun shone, which always seems to lift spirits.  C got to dress up in her newly made dress.  We sold lots of lovely forties goodies (which is what we do it for, after all), and I got to spend some much needed time away with my family. 

Sadly, where there are ups, there are downs, and for some reason, we saw more than our fare share of idiots this weekend!  Now I know that some people won’t think I’m being overly kind here, but bear with me. 

There is no denying that the stuff we sell is expensive.  It is original wartime clothing that has stood the test of time and survived, in the most part unscathed, for 70+ years, and that carries with it a degree of value.  In a way we have never experienced before, we had people compare out stock to charity shop goods, and scoff at the prices of the jumpers which have taken me 50+ hours to knit.  In my opinion, ignorance is no excuse for blatant rudeness.

We also had the jokers of the pack who thought our clothing offered a great fancy dress opportunity, a chance to shove (yes, with force) decade’s old homburgs and bowlers onto the heads of sticky fingered children so they could pose for granddad to take a picture.  Ah, how sweet!  I don’t think so.

There was the lady who tried, and failed, to squeeze herself into a petite 11011 utility coat which resulted in torn lining, brilliant!  Then there was the person who thought one of our fur stoles was cute and cuddly, the perfect thing to play with, roughly, and promptly tore the skins apart.  It was all topped off rather nicely with the theft of a rather exquisite 1930’s carved bone necklace.  I’m hoping karma catches up with the light fingered foul fiend!  Oh, I get to meet some charming folk!!

To be fair, 95% of the people I meet are wonderful, truly.  They are respectful and gentle with the clothing, and understand that, in most cases, it is irreplaceable.  These customers are lovely, and are welcome back anytime! :o)

The perfect ending to the event was the poppy drop, where 1000’s of paper poppies are dropped from a plane and flutter serenely, if a little off target, to the ground. 


Although tired, and a little pinker for our time spent in the sun, we are already looking forward to June 6th and 7th 2015, when we can do it all again, if GCR will have us!! xx

16 comments:

  1. Looks like you had a wonderful time despite of the rude ignorant people. We did a bootfair on Saturday, I know its not the same but a couple of pieces were old, yet I was told far too expensive and someone else telling you won't get that for that item at this bootfair!
    Julie xxxxxxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Julie, yes, we did have a wonderful weekend, despite the minority. I think I was just amazed by the rudeness of some. I would never grumble so loudly if I felt someone had overcharged. Good for you for doing a bootsale. My husband refuses to do them because of the rudeness of some! xxx

      Delete
  2. Always love your posts.
    I have a vintage stall at a local Farmers Market, and yes, more people are getting ruder. I put this down to the fact that Toronto is a multi-cultural town and many people have a different way of dealing and interfacing. In the end I can only sell the way I know how and think is right.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I agree that people are getting ruder, it's such a shame. You are right though, I can only sell the way I think is right. I know you can't please everyone :o)

      Delete
  3. Lovely photos. How annoying that you had such rude people, you would have thought that people at such an event would understand the value of old items. As for the knitwear, how ridiculous of them, I bet you aren't charging anything like the price it should be if it truely reflected all the hours of work spent making it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you :o) I have honestly never had so many rude people in one place. I think being so close to the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, there was a renewed interest in the period, which brought lots of people to the railway who had maybe not gone to such events before. As to the knitwear, I think I once worked out I get about .50p an hour on a jumper. Definitely have to knit for pleasure and not profit, as I'm sure you know :o)

      Delete
  4. It sounds like you had just a few dreadful people to deal with. I hope the ones who damaged your stock offered to buy those items.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sadly not Mim. The lady who ripped the lining just hung the coat back on the rail! I should probably be a bit more assertive and tackled her about it, but I'm very shy, and just not like that. I've learnt to take my sewing kit to events, for that exact reason! :o)

      Delete
  5. It looks lovely, I really must visit next year. It is really annoying that people don't understand the hours of work that go into any handcrafted item, I had the same thing happen with my jewellery. I've never understood why some people think handmade means cheap! And why oh why do they think it's acceptable to be rude in front of the stall owner, my mother always told me if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. I think your items look beautiful, a splendid display too. It does sound all in all though like you had a lovely weekend.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a shame people felt the need to be so rude, and I too am of the opinion that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all, especially in front of the stallholder. I suppose I expect people to act as I would in that situation. We did have a good weekend, the good definitely outweighed the bad :o)

      Delete
  6. Love your blogs! I have a vintage knitting stall here on the Isle of Wight and knit 1940s jumpers. I suspect I sell far too cheaply but I have learnt that people just won't pay the prices we should really get for the amount of work that is put into them. I often have comments like "I used to knit those and give them to charity to sell for a few pence" or more likely "that's a good idea, I can do that myself". I once was so cross I explained to one lady about things such as 'overheads' that I have to factor in. I have to say, though. that the re-enactment community do appreciate the effort I put in. I really admire my grandma who would sit in the air raid shelter in the back garden during air raids knitting those complicated lacy patterns. I can't manage it in a well lit room with just the TV on!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The re-enactors are nearly always lovely, sadly it was the general public who were the issue this time. I definitely agree that you never get a realistic price on a jumper. Think I average .50p and hour! Hmm, we've had the "I used to knit those" and we've even had the, "oh, I could do that for far less!" I had to bite my tongue! As to the wartime knitter, oh yes, I take my hat off to them. How they could knit in such poor light is beyond me. I have a daylight lamp to work with in the evening or I simply can't see.

      Delete
  7. I shrieked once when a kid covered in dripping ice cream headed arms outstretched to my stall. Expensive mummy chatted to her friend as if I should be grateful I stood between the child and stall and glared. People! As for your jumper it's beautiful. I enlarged to see the price and thought wow that's a reasonable price. X

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always think of the grumpy taxi driver from Paddington Bear with his "sticky bears are extra!" when I see a food carrying/splattered child heading my way. I have perfected a glare, but sometimes even that doesn't do the trick :o) Thank you re the pricing thing. I try to keep things reasonable, but you can't please everyone! x

      Delete
  8. Sounds like a lovely weekend :) I've worked in retail for over 20 years so know all about idiots! It's one of the reasons I'm taking a year off from making things, I get so upset when people moan about the price of my things after they've taken me hours to make. Last year a lady was so busy trying to pull my brooch apart so she could explain to her daughter how to make it she knocked over most of my display! At the vintage fair I did for the shop yesterday I had a number of people asking me to drop the price of things, I try to explain that I feel my prices are low anyway & for goodness sake it's for charity!!! One lady demanded a beautiful 1960's tray for £1.... it was marked at £3 :( Don't let them get you down xx

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hi does anyone know where we can camp in our caravan for 1940 s weekend event at great central . Last years event was great apart from where the campsite was whatof farm just to far to walk late at night after the dance up hill on a dirt track . My sister in law with us have a lung disease which was a real struggle thanx.

    ReplyDelete