Every week, on the same day and at the same time, the good ladies of the local Women's Institute (WI) gather their wares to sell. There is a cake stall, a savoury stall (pies, sausages rolls, flans and quiches etc), a vegetable stall, an egg stall, a goats cheese stall, a jam and pickle stall, there are also a couple of craft stalls, though no one ever seems to pay them any attention so I'm not quite sure why they continue showing up, and it is the the cake and savoury stall that have the biggest queues and the highest demand. All goods are homemade and I know from personal tasting experience are all delicious.
It is fair to say that I am often the youngest person in attendance so I can be pretty quick off the mark to ensure I get my greedy little hands on the items I want. Most of the buying public are women, and appear to choose their clothing on the basis of comfort dressing. Heels are definitely out, shape is out, as are jeans, and any form of colour other than grey which if it's matching your hair colour is not terribly flattering. I can ignore all this, but what I have found odd is how unfriendly most of the attendees are. I have attempted engaging them in conversation, but they are not interested and on occassion have been quite rude. One of the ladies behind the stall has implied that it is because I am a newcomer and not to take it personally. I'm not painting an attractive picture here but I believe in being honest and fair, which I discovered not all these ladies are.
I had enlisted handsome husbands assistance as I could not be at the market at opening time which is essential to avoid missing out as items sell fast here. I gave him a list with instructions of which stall to visit first to be sure not to lose out on these popular items. This was his first visit to the the market and as he is a lover of food he was happy to fulfil this task for me. We had arranged to meet at the market about half an hour after opening and as I flounced in I spied him surrounded by 6 women all looking gooey eyed and laughing and giggling.
Surveying the other customers it was simple to see why he was receiving so much attention. There is a distinct lack of gentlemen at these weekly events and the few that are there don't look up to much, and are mostly lurking in the coffee corner looking bored or having a snooze.
Handsome husband did not look comfortable and as I caught his eye, he mouthed "HELP ME". I did feel a bit sorry for him as having a woman who is 30 years older than you (around the same age as his mother) openly flirting would be difficult for any man to stomach. This was the moment where I could re-pay all the times when he has rescued me and gotten me out of one fix or another. So I walked over, grabbed him by the arm and said "There you are, I thought I'd lost you, now have all these ladies sorted you out"? I could see the panic drain away from him and he showed me what he'd purchased with pride. His admirers backed off and he explained that he'd commented that it was unfortunate that there was only one blackberry and apple pie left and that he would have taken more, whereupon the lady whispered to him that they keep some popular items back for 'Special Customers', and that if he wanted another one it wasn't a problem. He had then had the same experience with four of the other ladies who also told him that he could order items and therefore wouldn't need to be there for opening time and could come along anytime before closure.
Not once on all my visits here, had anyone mentioned this private little system, they were keeping it all to themselves, not exactly charitable. Handsome husband has recovered from his ordeal and has begged me never to send him there again, which I won't but I shall reward him for his discovery with my very own buns.