The accidental finding

By woodpeckers

Sledging Stroud high street!

Earlier in the week I'd been offered a stall at Stroud's Shambles indoor market for both Friday and Saturday. I'd said No so often in January/February, for very good reasons, that I was delighted to be able to say Yes this time.

I wasn't going to let a bit of weather put me off, so I packed a minimalist setup into my shopping trolley, attached a card stand to the back with a bungee, strapped my Yaktrax (elastic crampons) to my boots, and set off through the snow. My neighbour was warming up his Landrover's engine, but I do not think he could back out of the corner he usually parks in. The snow was too deep. Powdery, white, amazing...

I took my time, and only passed four cars on the entire journey. The main roads had not been gritted. More pedestrians than motorists were on the move. Arriving at the market, I found Ron, the organiser, shovelling and barrowing snow in the Shambles.He was amazed to see me.

Six of us stallholders held the fort (lots of empty tables) indoors, and the organic veg stall was the only stalwart outside. Even the Women's Institute was absent. People turned up looking for directions; asking for the temporary shelter for the homeless; asking why Gregg's the bakers was closed. At least half the shops were shut. There was no milk left in Iceland, but I did witness the unusual sight of children sledging down the High Street with their parents. I guess there had been no point in clearing it, with more snow forecast.

We bought a few things from each other (I got a new leather watch strap and a Ganesh the elephant god incense pack) and sold a few things to the few customers. I made at least as much as I had made at cold, cold Nailsworth market the week before, with my bad back (blessings on the miracle back support!)

We left early at 2pm. I'd arranged to go round to a friends' house to eat and watch Abigail's Party, in preparation for our WEA class. What a shocker the ending was! As I walked home afterwards, I could still hear and see children sledging in Daisybank park.

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