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  1. Just got back from Upton Festival ....and what a busy few days. Some of the organisation left a bit to be desired but most of the acts were very good.

    We got there on Friday morning and having been told we could get on site at 7am were kept waiting until 7.30 when scurity opened the site. Found ourselves a pitch in the main shopping enclave and had everything erected by 10'sh only to find the public were not allowed into the arena until 5pm. Some traders had been there for 24 hours already so were already a bit dischuffed! Weather was very warm but a bit drizzly but the music played from 6pm till midnight and was very good. Friday night saw David sleeping in the gazebo while Frankie popped home.

    Saturday dawned cooler and a bit breezy, one gazebo near the stage biting the dust, but we were OK with our storm guys in place - more as a precaution than a necessity. The arena opened at 11am this day with the music starting at 12 noon. Again an good line up of 'historic vintage' acts so we know most of the music and could sing along. Daylight was much better today so trading was steady rather than spectacular and ended about 10pm as although we could have stayed open till midnight our gazebo lights weren'y over effective and anyway once the main acts were on stage most punters were watching. Frankie stayed in the gazebo on Saturday night and David went home to the comfort of a proper bed and shower.

    Sunday was a chilly morning but turned into a lovely afternoon and evening. David called in and bought some better quality gazebo lights so got there after the arena opened again at 11am. More well known bands from midday but as the weather got better so more people came into the trading area. Also being the last day we had customers who had been to see us previously coming back and making purchases. The new lights were very effective and made a big difference and in fact we had a few last minute sales when in previous night we would have been closed. Watchedthe fireworks at 9.30 and then closed at 10pm so we could go over and watch Slade (Dave Hill but no Nobby Holder). After a lound and bouncy 30-40 minutes  went back to the gazebo and packed everything so to make it easier to break camp on Monday, David stayed in the gazebo overnight. Can't say slept as the adjoining (larde) stall and the funfair decided to break camp then and leave camp overnight. This was most inconsidrate of them as they didn't finish till after 1.30am and until then were making a loy of noise with HGV engines racing to power up the generators. Finally got to sleep after 2! Got up at 6, broke camp, left about 8 and home before 9.

    Although there were some hiccups with the organisation on the whole we had a great time and some f the acts were outstanding. Particularly impressed with Chesney Hawkes (hence the blog title), The Troggs, Bad Manners and Slade but there wasn't a bad performance that we saw.

    Next weekend we are at Bromsgrove Blue Cross fete on Wildmoor Lane, Catshill and its open from 12-4. This was a very good event last year although as there isn't a craft tent we are in our yellow topped gazebo again. See you there................. 

  2. It's only a few days to go now - The Upton International Music Festival is at the weekend and we have our pitch booked in the main Arena. Slade, Bad Manners, Brotherhood of Man, The Wurzels, The Troggs ......I'm digging my flares out as we speak! Oh yes... and trading goes on until midnight every day/evening. It will be an interesting experience reliving some of our youth and we are sleeping in the gazebo so its just as well that Monday is a Bank Holiday to allow time for recovery!

    Not sure what to take so the answer will be everything. We'll be taking two cars so one of us can come home each night to have a break while the other one will fight it out at the campsite facilities in the morning!

    Look out for the Christmas range as we'll be launching it on the website early next month. We took some to Arbury Hall over the weekend and sold quite a few ...and had a large trade enquiry today so thats exciting as well.

    Don't forget to check out our Facebook page as there are links to the Upton Festival and other attractive sites as well.

    See you soon

  3. A plea from the heart as events are coming thick and fast and we need to make lots more stock!

    Last weekend was everything we hoped for. Redditch Kingfisher was steady all day and it's surprising how the sales accummulate over a 8.5 hour period.  Sunday at Far Forest was a real bonanza as there was a very good turnout to enjoy the pleasing weather. By 1pm apparently 7,000 people had gone through the gate. We were in the Craft marquee and had the benfit of a neighbour not turning up so the organisers invited us to spread our display and take it over. Had a really good response across the whole product range.

    This weekend we are going 'upmarket' a bit and attending the Warwickshire & West Midlands Game Fair and Country show at Arbury Hall near Nuneaton. Its being held over two days on Saturday and Sunday but we have to be there on Friday afternoon to put up our stand. Could be interesting as potentially it's the largest event we've been to (until the Upton pop Festival next week!).

    We'll be taking samples of our Christmas decorations, perhaps a bit early but we might get some trade orders. Anyway we'll keep our posts on Fcebook going so if you want to hear our very latest news why not log on to our page - panachegifts and like us.

    Till the next time


  4. Just looking at the diary for the coming few weeks and as we are now approaching the Christas season we are booked up for most weekends and for some midweek events too.

    Must admit before we started this business always wondered why shops started displaying their wares so early. Now we see it from the other side it's amazing how so many prople spread their Christmas present buying over a period of months. I suppose it makes sense really to spread the cost over a period of time, especially in these austere times, but it's surprised us how many people do it. We will be launching our full Christmas shop range next month on the website although most items are already on our stall at events.

    We've got a double header this weeked. On Saturday Frankie will be in the Redditch Kingfisher shopping centre (9-5.30) at its craft and vintage fair. First time at this event but it's a nice indoor venue. Sunday is a bit different as we'll be in the middle of a field, albeit it in the craft marquee, at the Far Forest Countryside Show just outside Bewdley. Did this show last year and it went well so hopefully the fair weather forecast will hold and we will see the crowds again this year.

    We've also started gathering and drying fir cones for the Christmas pot pourri and we need to get back to Pembrokeshire as the driftwood is selling quicker than we can make it - best check out our Facebook page for this where we've put pictures of our new single T light holders. Why not Like us on Facebook and this will keep you up to date?

    Bye for now