From a very early age I have loved sewing and making, learning from both Grandmothers and Mother. Small items earnestly produced and lovingly received by relatives, and a few still in existence. When at school I took dressmaking and though some slightly odd items were fashioned I did produce some very wearable garments.
I continued making when I came up to London and that is when I decided to invest in my trusty Bernina which I still have today, it was so expensive all those years ago but some of the best money I have spent. It is still going strong though I do make sure that it is frequently cleaned and serviced. I cannot help saying here that they do not make things like they use to!
When I went freelance with my catering I did not have much time to sew but did not stop me collecting fabrics! Some would say that I am a hoarder but I like to think that I am curating a collection.
When catering took more of a back seat I decided that before I was found under a mound of fabrics I should start to make again. Thanks to Michael in Fabrics galore www.fabricsgalore.co.uk, my absolutely favourite fabric shop, I discovered the existence of Duck Pond Markets and am happy to say that I have not looked back. I contacted Caron and the rest, as they say, is history. Michael Dankwah designs wonderful bears for his company www.grinandbearlondon.com.
My first market was in Heron Square, Richmond in June 2012 and I have to admit that I did not have a clue! I look back now and realize that without the help and support of Caron and her team and of the other stallholders I would still be in that position. I have not stopped learning since. Duck Pond really is like a family.
I am of course my Father’s daughter in that I have to have a bit of kit for every eventuality ! This causes much amusement when I can produce even the most unexpected item someone may have left behind. I am always up for a challenge and do have one or two bits that have not yet been requested. Equally I feel quite down hearted when I cannot fulfil a request!
It is never hugely entertaining to set up, sell or pack down in the rain but we mostly manage to do it with humour, rarely is that silver lining entirely missing. It could be just that we are a bit simple but it is rare not to hear loud laughter coming from our corner of the market. The endless argument of course is which is worse, wind or rain, never a definitive answer but to be honest we do like it best when the sun shines. Sun equals smiles and happy customers and stallholders alike.
My other hat……..
My other life is as part of a small but perfectly formed team at a flourishing catering company in Battersea. I normally do three days a week but for various reasons frequently do more. Juggling both hats can be a bit frantic at times but it all seems to work in the end. Hats are not the only things to be juggled!
Jackie is the proprietor and took me in a couple of years ago, I turned up to meet her and realising that my dress was on inside nipped into the wash up area and put it right. Jacks did not seem to think for a second that this was the result of crazy person, in fact we hit it off fantastically well and the only think that shut us up was the fact that Jacks had a job to deliver!!!!! We are a very jolly little ship where harmony is the watchword most of the time though the occasional artistic difference can occur! This all makes it more interesting and productive.
Regan is our full timer. A breath of fresh air and we share a proper sense of the ridiculous resulting in some almost surreal conversations, often resulting in peals of laughter. She is also a terrifically talented chef from whom I am learning so many new techniques. Regan has reminded me why I love this business, the fact that you never stop learning. On quiet afternoons we can be found trying out recipes suitable for jobs which of course need to be tested! If we are lucky and she can be persuaded away from her own busy business Jaz brings her sunny personality in to help us out. Not often enough in our book!
James, driver extraordinaire is the last but by no means least member of the team. We are very spoilt having him to do the deliveries as before it meant one of us was out of the kichen battling the vagaries of London traffic. Not so happy when he has a day off……..we are thinking of disallowing this sort of behaviour.