We are going to undertake our final carboot/table top sale tomorrow but even at this time are unsure which it will be or where. We had felt that by this time of the year we will not want to stand outside in the cold and rain with a dearth of customers but the unseasonably mild autumn has revised that opinion. We did undertake an indoor sale last weekend but unfortunately with twice as many sellers as buyers coupled with a lack of space to display our wares despite procuring an end ‘pitch’, the profits were down significantly. We’d travelled to have a look at an alternative location after our early finish and were not too impressed with the tumble down buildings defining the pitches, particularly in view of the signage denoting ‘dangerous building, do not enter’! There is however, a craft/table top sale in Saltaire which looked quite nice however I was too slow to book so am 3rd on the waiting list. The alternative is to return to Wetherby Race Course, even if a little later than previous visits, to ensure that we can actually see whilst setting up. The forecast is dry and reasonably bright but the wind is predicted to reach 20mph. We have been fortunate to not have had to cope with this element previously but as I sit in my lounge waiting for the washing machine to finish I’m wondering if the clothes will stay on the line and this is supposed to be a mere 12mph wind!
We are keeping a close eye on the booking status of our chalet to get an idea of how busy we’ll be. Our only source is via the advertised listings, working on the basis that if that particular week is not for sale then we will be full. Christmas and New Year had been booked before we’d even been allocated. There is still space in 8 of the weeks but the anomaly is half-term. It had been on sale at full price – the only week not reduced – until recently and then disappeared from the list. Presumably the whole chalet had been booked. 2 days later it was re-advertised at a higher price by £100pp, very odd. Now however, it has gone again so we’re really not sure what’s happening there but the other Easter week which is not booked is now on at full price. it would be quite interesting to know how this side of the business operates. I suppose we can’t really expect to not be full as the prices will just be cut and cut until all places are taken, or will they? Is there a cut off point below which it is not viable to have someone in? This is the factor we want to find out for the more impoverished members of our circle i.e. offspring!
As I was putting bread out for the birds this morning I did wonder if there would be any wildlife in resort or whether the hustle and bustle of the activity would deter anything from approaching human habitation unless desperate. The only snow wildlife I know about are artic foxes, hares or polar bears, none of which I anticipate seeing in the Alps, despite potentially artic conditions. Other wildlife, as far as I know, tends to inhabit the areas at the edge of the snowline where there is some prospect of foraging but not under several feet of snow. We did see evidence in Finland of small animal tracks but they may be of the variety we would not welcome near the chalet and hot tub! I’ll need to investigate the diet of the snow-finch although quite where I’ll attract them to I’m unsure as yet, just hope I don’t see a ptarmigan which would be very lost!
I hope our guests will not be expecting windmill cakes at tea time! They were spectacular last night in the final of Great British Bake Off but way out of our league if it took experts 5 hours to create. My recollection of the cakes I have been offered in the past is that they were very tasty and filling but not always especially pretty. I am going to try to pick up some tips from the GBBO master class, even if it is primarily for sugar work to decorate the desserts. Already I need to revise how to make a caramel birds nest so just as well there’s wifi in the chalet.
We attended a pre-season social get together last night. It was held at the Chill Factore in Manchester which was apparently a change of venue as they are usually held in the south but more staff come from the north. We declined the suggestion to brush up on our technique on the indoor slopes as we were more likely to do serious damage to some part of our anatomy and there would definitely be no sunshine!
We joined the throng in a private room where a band, who will be touring the ski resorts, were going to entertain us. On arrival we chatted to some of the meet and greet staff and re-discovered our area manager who we’d met briefly on the cooking course. Our resort manager didn’t appear to be around or if she was we missed her, or she missed us. We were provided with stickers with our resort destination rather than our names which seemed odd initially but was actually quite effective. By the end of the evening we had met another chalet host (from Leeds), 2 snow rangers and a nanny with whom we would be sharing the season and possibly more as we are still unsure of what accommodation will be available. The band were surprisingly good and delivered excellent cover versions of a wide variety of artists, mostly from our era! The only drawback was that the volume almost completely prevented any meaningful conversation but at least we now have some faces who will be familiar on the journey.
We did make a bee-line for the only other person who was (probably) over 40. We knew we’d be in the minority but were hoping that there might have been a few more of the 10% of more mature staff – allegedly! Perhaps they did succumb to the strong temptation to give the event a miss or perhaps ‘10%’ was some form of marketing statistics. Anyway we met some great young people who didn’t seem to be put off from talking to the wrinklies.
House clearance is well underway. After a disappointing offer to clear Roger’s house he is using Gumtree to great effect for the larger items, mainly furniture. They can’t really go to a car boot/table top sale as they’d take most of the space in the car and those buyers who frequent such events do not want to part with any significant amounts of cash. Despite this we’ve been pleasantly surprised how much we’ve managed to accrue as the deals have been small change but the speed at which the mornings have disappears reflects the number of transactions. Yet, the pile in the dining room doesn’t seem to be diminishing.
The on-line classified ads have proved very successful for both of us but it is quite easy to see that items need to go in the first 48hrs or they disappear into the reams of pages available. I’m off to view a sofa this afternoon, which I can’t pick up until Saturday, to replace mine which is being given a lovely home in a converted barn but leaves Ben without. I’m just a bit concerned that it will go before I get there if our rate of sale ‘lead time’ is anything to go by.
We get quite excited about the ‘profit’ we are taking when related to our new income! On the basis of current salaries the effort may hardly seem worth it but when we consider that we’ve been taking almost a week’s wages at each car boot it suddenly feels much more fruitful.
We’re on the countdown to a massive change of life. There are only 2 months left before we head off to our new destination and journey and destination and journey etc. It is now common knowledge that we are leaving our respective workplaces. Each stage of announcement that we attain makes the prospect more real, not that it isn’t anyway but there’s no going back now. Or is there? I’ve only given notice of my notice which must be quite infuriating as it is neither one thing nor the other.
We are gradually completing the multitude of tasks. As ever though, there appeared to be plenty of time but on seeing ‘2 months’ in writing, our departure suddenly looks very imminent, bearing in mind what still needs to be accomplish. We are cracking on with divesting ourselves of our worldly excesses; car boot sales have been a revelation besides being reasonably lucrative. They are quite cathartic and addictive and to our knowledge, only 1 article has ‘disappeared’ in 4 sales. Each week it becomes easier to identify more and more items to sell and less and less of an emotional wrench to part with them which is surely excellent feng shui. Unfortunately we are just moving into the wrong season, despite this protracted summer and you really can’t display anything like as much at a table top sale.