Perhaps writing is not a craft.

I am surrounded by striped teddy bears and knitted pink pigs, embroidered owls, carved wooden penguins, pressed flower pictures, broaches and necklaces of tortured plastic, cup cakes so laden with butter cream that I feel my waistline expanding as I look at them and enough candles to see us all through a winter of power cuts.

Plus my table of artistically displayed books, on which no-one wastes a glance as they make towards the cot covers appliqued with Micky Mouse, the embroidered tea cosies and those carved wooden things you can hang from your bathroom light-pull.

This is a craft market and perhaps writing is not a craft.

Women in unusual sweaters and carefully chosen accessories do not, it seems, buy books and I watch with diminishing hopes for some scruffily clad individuals but these are few and far between and the charming and yes, scruffily-dressed, elderly gentleman who does stop has to take out his magnifying glass to examine the cover of my book and admits that he is on the way to becoming totally blind.

The woman on the stall opposite uses wire and tweezers to create yet another pair of dangling ear-rings. Her neighbour fashions tiny snowmen to sit on a painted wooden board stating ‘Welcome to our Christmas Home.’ Customers buy cup cakes and scarfs knitted in glittering wool. I am tempted by a necklace of blue and green stones but tell myself this isn’t something I need…

And nor, it seems, are my books.

The friendly lady on the next stall tells me she only reads one book a year and assumes that the fact that I have my nose stuck in one indicates that I am so terminally bored that I would like to hear yet more about her astonishingly talented grandchildren.

I am definitely in the wrong place.

Except that my chatty neighbour remembers she hasn’t yet bought a Christmas present for her sister, who loves reading…

And her friend, from the stall of knitted roses on the far side of the hall, buys a copy to read for herself!

Which means the day is not entirely wasted – and I have only forty eight books to carry home.


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