Sent to Coventry
Being sent to Coventry generally refers to being shunned, banished or at least not spoken to, so you would think that our time in Coventry Canal Basin as part of the RCTA Floating Market would be a subdued and quiet sort of affair.
The portents for this event were, fo be fair, not good. The floating market was supposed to be the sideshow to one of the City of Culture's main events - with the central area of the basin occupied by a musical stage hosting an array of local performers by day, and then an open air cinema by night. Sadly, the reopening after the pandemic was delayed and the main attractions were cancelled, leaving the Floating Market as a stand alone attraction.
The canal traders decided to make the best of it and carry on regardless. We shook the dust out of our gazebo, which has lain unused for nearly two years, and set the stall up in full "festival" mode - less the tasters and ranks of jars on the stall.
So, with a toned down offering we opened for business, huddling behind a makeshift windbreaker and wrapped up against an unseasonal cold snap.
Now, this is where you expect to read of a dismal weekends trading, but no! As it turned out we were besieged, albeit in a very civilised, well organised and Covid safe manner. In please of the usual scrum around the tasters, family groups waited in ordered turns to approach and buy, having taken plenty of time to read the display boards and make their selections. The card reader took an unprecedented pounding and the till box bulged against the pressure of the notes - and the stock levels dwindled at an alarming rate.
I get the feeling that people are desperate for a bit of normality, and as we were the only show in town, we reaped the benefit. Every trader had a stonking weekend but for us, we sold four times as much as we anticipated , exceeding our previous weekend best by a country mile. After the Saturday the floorboards were lifted to gain access to the reserve stock in the hold, and by the time Sunday drew to a close there were just a handful of jars left.
So that leaves us with a quandry. We are now weeks and weeks ahead of where we expected to be sales wise, and our stock levels made last winter are finite. I guess we will have to go home and review what is in the store room and work our what we do next. Watch this space.