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Well, April’s not quite there, but it won’t be long before we see ‘the lowest boughs … in tiny leaf’*. With spring definitely in the air, we’re turning our thoughts to The Pantry Spring Market.

With the market date this year falling so close to St George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday (both on 23 April), we’ve decided to celebrate all that’s special about England.

The posters and flyers are now out – see below.

Pantry spring 2015 poster_A4-page-0-1

Everyone has their own take on Englishness, and their own ideas about what gives England its character. Is it our sense of justice and fairplay? Our willingness to stand up for the underdog and be a place of refuge for those that need it? Our ability to queue? Morris dancing? Or our certainty that absolutely anything can be made better with a nice cup of tea?

The English are particularly proud (if that’s not too strong a term for people who tend to distrust such emotions) of their sense of humour – the drier the better. We are experts at laughing at ourselves while at the same time fiercely appreciating all that we consider good and valuable in our country. And it’s that spirit we want to celebrate in the next market.

So do come along to the Spring Market on 18 April. We can’t promise Morris dancing, but we can offer you an array of local produce, some proper home-made English cakes, a nice cup of tea and a sit down.

Can’t say fairer than that, now, can I, guv?

* Rupert Brooke, ”Home Thoughts from Abroad’

clip-art-farmers-market

Are you a local craftsperson, supplier of locally sourced food or drink, or something similar, looking for a new outlet to sell your wares?

The Pantry always welcomes new stallholders, as this helps make each market a unique event. So if you’re tempted, or know of anyone – either foodie or crafty – who might be interested in selling their wares at The Pantry, please contact us on 01869 320950 or email kenhowardc10@gmail.com.

The fee for a stall is a very reasonable £10, and we usually do get a good number of potential customers coming to each market.

Of course, we’re very happy to see lots of old friends too, so if you’ve had a stall at a previous market but haven’t been for a while, do get in touch if you’d like to come again.

If you can’t make the date of the next market (18 April), dates for the remaining markets in 2015 are: 8 August and 5 December.

If you’re looking for something to entertain you before the spring market, there are a few events in the village you may be interested in if you live locally.

First, on Saturday 21 February, 7.30 p.m. in St Nicholas Church, Piddington, there’ll be a concert performed by Sandy Mackenzie and Friends – a group of local musicians playing a variety of instruments in what promises to be an entertaining evening. Last year, a highlight was a rendition of ‘Mud, Glorious Mud’, with full audience participation, so it’ll be intriguing to see what they give us this year! Phone nos for tickets: 01844 239343; 01869 320950; 01844 237688.

The following week, on Friday 27 February, the village hall is once again transforming itself into a pop-up pub for the night, with a choice of real ale from local craft breweries and some oriental nibbles in honour of Chinese New Year. There’ll be a few surprises too, apparently, so if you feel like popping round to the local, make a note of the date. By Saturday, the pub will have disappeared again.

A new craft club has started in the village. Meetings will be on the first Tuesday of each month between 7.30pm and 9.30pm, and the next one is on Tuesday 3 March. For further information call 07771 880017.

And finally, Piddington villagers are invited to attend the launch of Piddington’s Community-Led Plan at the village hall on Friday 20 March, 6.30 for a 7pm start. We’re being asked to come and enjoy a glass of wine and refreshments and talk about the things that matter to us with other villagers – which doesn’t sound too much of a hardship. Pantry People do like a glass of something and a natter, after all.

See you around, I expect!

snowdrops

Hello again! It seems a long time since Christmas, doesn’t it? It’s wonderful to see the snowdrops and crocuses, and all the other signs of life renewing itself. Piddington always seems particularly pretty at this time of year, especially with a little spring sunshine on it. At Pantry HQ, we’re slowly emerging from our cave, blinking in the light and starting to gear ourselves up for our first market of 2015.

As I mentioned in my previous post, we’ve decided to hold The Pantry spring market in April, a bit later than usual, and have the next one in August, halfway between the dates of our previous summer and autumn markets. We’ve found that fewer people attend the summer and autumn markets, so combining them into one August extravaganza may be better. That’s the idea, anyhow.

So, put the following dates into your diary now:

18 April – Spring Market

8 August – Summer Market

5 December – Christmas Market

village hall snowy

Now that we’ve recovered from the Christmas market, we’ve been thinking about next year. Our experience over the last couple of years has been that while the Christmas and spring markets have been very popular, the summer and autumn markets have seen fewer people coming along to them.

We’re not sure why this should be, but we’ve decided that next year we’d try holding three rather than four markets, on the following dates:

18 April, 8 August and 5 December

We’ve set the spring market a little later than usual, and set the next one in August, halfway between the dates of our previous summer and autumn markets.

So put the dates in your diary now. We look forward to seeing you in April!

That’s a quote from one of the visitors who came to the market on Saturday. It was a fantastic day, and the hall was buzzing and festive the whole time. We had more stalls than ever, and the variety of lovely things on offer combined with the great food served up with a smile at the Coffee Shop made this market the best we’ve ever had.

So many people told us that what was happening here was really special – ‘A proper villagey event, with a real sense of community spirit’ – and they wished they had something like it where they lived. We met a lovely young couple who’d come all the way from Nottingham, deciding to have the perfect Christmas shopping weekend by combining a visit to The Pantry on Saturday with a trip to Bicester Village on Sunday. They’d spotted our event notice and this blog on the internet and decided we sounded worth investigating. They seemed delighted with what they found, had bought several presents and said how lovely and friendly all the people were. We were thrilled that our fame had spread so far!

A HUGE thank you to everyone who helped put on this fantastic event. Goodness knows what we’ll have to do next year to surpass this year’s Christmas market. An ice rink …? (No, Pantry People, it’s a joke!)

Anyway, I’ll let you into a little behind-the-scenes secret. Shortly before opening time, Maggie and Karen arrived to discover the grill on the oven had stopped working. No tears, no tantrums, no panic (well, only a little panic) – they just set to, found some frying pans and coolly coped with the unprecedented numbers of customers and the barrage of orders coming at them from all directions. Knowing how competent and capable both of them are, I wasn’t surprised – but I was full of admiration for how they responded to what could have been a disaster. And I don’t suppose anyone suspected a thing. Well done, the Coffee Shop team!

And well done to everyone else who helped make it such a lovely festive event!

Just a reminder that three people from Piddington will be selling their wares at the market tomorrow, so do pop by and say hello.

Lynda Galloway has been a great supporter of various village events and initiatives over the years, so do come and support her own brand new venture – Event and Party Essentials. Lynda has lots of ideas to make your special event even more special, and can make or supply a large variety of printed items to make your event unique. On her stall you’ll find some great Christmas gifts and stocking fillers, plus ideas to make your party go with a bang (or a bong – ask at the stall!).

Alex White will be offering Christmas gifts and gorgeous home accessories. If you’re looking for a unique gift, or something stylish for your home without the designer price tag come and pay her a visit.

Liz Tagert will be offering household goods, including kitchen wares, ceramic storage jars and lanterns.

Some of the stylish home accessories you'll find on Alex's stall

Some of the stylish home accessories you’ll find on Alex’s stall

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