Specially for children: Mad Hatter’s Corner

Another Pantt partyry meeting last night, and the ideas were coming thick and fast for our Mad March Market – some slightly madder than others, it has to be said.

Only the Coffee Shop volunteers know (and they’re not saying) just how they’ll be interpreting the theme of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

But one idea we did put some thought into was having an activity at the market that would interest children. So we came up with …

Mad Hatter’s Corner

A space where children can get crafty making their own Mad March hat, or mask, or whatever their imagination comes up with.

Craft materials and equipment will be provided, and there’ll be a competition to find the best creation.

Children can enter on the day – all entrants will get a small prize – and there’ll be two age categories: Under 11 and 11-16.

The judging will take place at 1.30 pm – at the same time as the raffle draw.

So you can shop the stalls and have a coffee break in the knowledge that the youngsters will be happily occupied with scissors and glue – and someone else will be clearing up after them!

hare mask

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Mutual support is good for everyone

Driving back from Sandford Market this morning with a couple of friends, having had a delicious breakfast, chatted to some people who have supported The Pantry in the past (hello Jill!) and picked up some local bread and meat, plus a few Christmas stocking fillers for the family (including me!), we got to talking about how our visit had not only been enjoyable but also had given us the chance to look at The Pantry with fresh eyes.

I must say, we all felt a great sense of pride in what has been achieved in Piddington over the last year – a bit like proud parents, I suppose. Seeing the buzz of activity at Sandford, we marvelled at how the people who organise it manage to put on a market every week – hats off to them for an amazing effort!

It also gave us fresh heart and the impetus we needed to start pulling together our Christmas Market on 7 December. At this dank, dreary time of year, it’s all too easy to stay indoors, huddled over the fire, and ignore anything that needs a bit of effort. Visiting the market this morning brought home to us all just how important it is to resist these tendencies and support all the people who are working so hard to bring life to their communities. I wrote in an earlier piece about how volunteering can be good for your health. We decided this morning that mutual support like this can have huge benefits for the health of a community – and of course you can have great fun while you’re doing it.

So please look out for those local community markets and go along for a coffee or to buy a few things. If you’re stuck for ideas, there are lots of event-listing websites, e.g. Where Can We Go? And, of course, don’t forget to come along and support your very own community market on 7 December, 10am til 2pm. It’ll be great!

Our very first market, Christmas 2012.
Our very first market, Christmas 2012.

The Pantry Christmas Market – our first anniversary!

Can you believe it? The Pantry is a year old! Come and help us celebrate our first anniversary at the Christmas Market on Saturday 7 December 2013, 10am–2pm.

Because it’s Christmas, we’ve put together a selection of stalls offering interesting local gifts and crafts – including unusual handmade jewellery, silk scarves and accessories from Shalotte, decorative art dolls and cushions from Jenny Bowen-Pine, Kathy Chalk’s exquisite decorative glass pieces (very popular last Christmas), plus handbags from Alison Court, a selection of accessories for that hard-to-buy-for man in your life from Horton Accessories, and more still being finalised. A full list of craft stallholders will be posted soon.

In the General Store we’ll be featuring some seasonal specials. If your Christmas decorations seem a little tired, freshen them up with some new Christmas lights from the selection we’ll have for sale. Who knows, we may even put on a display to rival that well-known garden centre just up the road. We’re making up some pretty gift baskets – lined with our trademark red gingham! Or you could buy one of our Pantry cotton bags and make up your own gift bag filled with local produce.

And don’t forget the garden birds. Also on the General Store we’ll be offering bird seed and fat balls in packs of a suitable size for gifts.

Of course, it wouldn’t be The Pantry without a range of stalls offering the best of local produce, so you’ll find, for example, the very popular local butcher Peter Goss, who’ll be bringing a selection of high-quality locally sourced meats and poultry, Bucksum selling their top-class salads and vegetables, Jim and Jules with their delicious chutneys and jams (including a special Piddington variety, made with a villager’s apples!), the Waddesdon Deli Co. offering their delicious goodies and The Little Shop of Cheese providing an array of cheeses, many of which are packed to make them suitable as gifts for the foodie in your life.

The Piddington Bakers will be back with their fabulous array of scrumptious homemade cakes. All the profit from their stall will go towards the repair work that is needed on the church, so please support them by buying a cake (or two … or three …).

There’ll also be great offers and promotions on Pantry food and drink – including deals you can’t afford to miss on our popular local beer and cider stall.Our Biermeister is keen to get you tasting and comparing brews from Oxfordshire Ales, Vale Brewery and XT Brewing Co. Buy a case and mix and match the beers you choose.

Outside, we’ll be selling rock salt to keep your paths safe, and we hope that Nick Wallington will be taking orders for Christmas trees, as he did last year.

If all that isn’t enough reason to come along and join us at The Pantry Christmas Market, then do I need to mention the coffee shop, with its tempting aroma of bacon baps wafting around the village hall (sorry, veggies!)?  Plus – as it’s a special occasion, what with it being our first anniversary as well as Christmas – we’re planning one or two extra treats.

Remember, save the date – 7 December.

Who’s coming to the Autumn Market?

Well, not this Pantry Person, unfortunately, as on 14 September I’ll be otherwise engaged – though I will certainly miss being there. Not just the brilliant atmosphere on the day, and chatting with people I haven’t seen for ages while sampling some of the delicious tastes on offer (not to mention the fantastic range of local beers and ciders we’re offering), but also the buzz and excitement of helping to get the market ready. It’s hard to describe how great it feels when, after all the hard work, you step back just before it opens and see that everything has suddenly come together. The hall is always decorated so beautifully, the stalls and the coffee shop always look so attractive and welcoming, and everyone is friendly and eager to make it a really enjoyable event.

Anyway, if you’re lucky enough to be in Piddington from 10 am to 2 pm on 14 September, here’s what you’ll find there.

You can make the list bigger by clicking on the rectangle at the bottom right; clicking on a link will take you to the supplier’s website.

Autumn Market – Change of date

Various summery events have meant I haven’t posted about The Pantry for a while, but that doesn’t mean the Pantry People aren’t all beavering away behind the scenes, getting the Autumn Market shipshape. (You can tell I’ve been to the seaside, can’t you?)

One important thing to note is that we’ve had to change the date of the next market because lots of us (organisers and volunteers) won’t be around on the date we originally set. So we’ve decided to move it to the following week.

The Autumn Market will now be held on 14 September, at the slightly later time of 10am – 2pm.

See you there!

Summer Market photos

Here are a few photographs from the Summer Market, which, I think you’ll agree, give a flavour of the fantastic atmosphere on the day. Thank you, John, for taking them.

Phew, what a scorcher! Cool off with Pimm’s at The Pantry

There’ll also be The Piddington Bakers, strawberries and cream, news about the transformation of Widnell Park into a nature reserve and details of how you can help, lots of new stallholders and some old favourites, delicious things to buy and, of course, the popular coffee shop with its fantastic bacon baps.

Why would you want to spend a sunny Saturday morning anywhere else?

And, once again, please don’t worry about the road closure signs – all roads into Piddington will be accessible.

Pantry poster 4 summer for printing A4_A5-page-0