We took the overnight ferry from Harwich and arrived at the Hook of Holland early, breakfast was orange juice, croissant and a cheese roll in the forecourt of a petrol station next to the E31. Lorries thundered by and the van swayed in the slipstream. We Potters really live the high life and having taken our time to get to Milsbeek, we still found ourselves killing time, sitting in the van as we had arrived way too early.
Spaces are not allocated, and there was a queue already at three o'clock, it seems there is a rush to get the best pitch. Not knowing a good pitch from a bad one, we bagged our space, sort of in the middle on the main aisle and set to fixing the canvas awning and staking down the feet of the market stall. Evidently it gets very breezy and the wind can whip in off the lake. Oh, a bad pitch means facing the lake, OK, never mind, we will take our chance.
As if by magic it rained as we set up, much like every other show this year and we stood like Emperor Penguins, huddled under the awning until the rain stopped and then tentatively set out our stall. That evening there was a barbecue with salads, fresh bread, courtesy of the baking school and free beer in a large Marquee. Potters renewed acquaintances and swapped news until late, but by ten we were out for the count, been on the road too long and swinging on the awning to get the poles to locate had taken it's toll.
Next morning was bright and sunny, with a cool breeze. The grass was still wet from the rain during the night and the few pots we had put out were dripping with condensation, but by ten o'clock when the show was due to start, everything was looking good and hangovers were nursed with black coffee, brewed up on little stoves at the back of most Potters stalls.
Slowly visitors started to drift in and by mid day there was a steady stream, with plenty of things to entertain them, musicians, demonstrations and a competition for the Potters to try their hand and throw a pot on the wheel of a Trabant, that miracle of East German engineering. The car was set up on a jack so the front driving wheel could spin, so throwing was side ways on and in the driving seat in a glorious red ball gown the driver operated the throttle. A breakdown in Language, or maybe the din from the two stroke engine meant the driver couldn't hear and there was little control and the first few attempts were amusing to say the least. The aim being to throw a pot (or something similar) twenty five centimetres high. There were plenty of people prepared to have a go and the competition went on over the whole weekend, finally a two person throwing team, comprising of the two Richards, or the two Dicks as they announced themselves, managed to get within a millimetre of the target.
We sold very little, some sold nothing at all, maybe a sign of the financial squeeze gripping Europe. The streets of Keramisto are not paved with Euros after all but it was a helluva party and so off to celebrate on my surprise birthday trip.