Once again I've been over on the Isle of Wight, since last Wednesday for the Isle of Wight Steam Fair. This four-day event takes place at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway, and showcases Steam Engines and various other historical vehicles. It's a fun show, which I've worked for five years and I have some very fond memories of it. This year was a great success, I sold an original, and had plenty of interest, and for once the weather was fine pretty much throughout the whole event.
However, I've made the difficult decision not to do the Steam show any more after this year. I've reached the decision for several reasons which include:
it's very labour intensive. Four days trading with a morning's setting up beforehand and a further morning's taking down afterwards. It requires me taking three days off my day job. It's so weather dependent, and I realised that this year was only the second time in five years that I've been able to trade for all four days, because on all the previous three years at least one day has been rained off. When it rains, I not only lose a days trading, I then have to spend more time afterward drying the gazebo before I can pack it away. This year, because - for once - it was dry, there was dust. Masses and masses of thick dust kicked up by all the steam trains/engines all day, every day. I've been through four rolls of kitchen towel and two packs of surface wipes trying to keep the pictures clean! And the clincher is, there is no mobile phone signal - at all! How is that even possible in the 21st century? That means I can't take card payments, and I'm increasingly losing sales because of it!
Ultimately, although I make decent money at the show, once you take out the pitch fee, the amount of profit I make doesn't justify the amount of work I put in!
So, the Steam show is no more, but I leave it with many happy and fond memories, and here are some of my favourites ...
I generally have no interest whatsoever in steam engines, however, one year this beast turned up. This is 'Nightmare' and I fell in love with it! I could almost imagine it emerging from the mist in Sleepy Hollow ... in some kind of turn-of-the-century version of Stephen King's Duel !!
The gothic Morris Dancers who turn up every year!
Some of the occupants of the magnificent steam-powered carousel which is the centrepiece of the fair.
DG meeting a dashing medieval gentleman who happened to be looking for a noble steed ...
Unfortunately a common theme of this show ... MUD!
Next time someone says selling art is glamorous, just laugh in their face.
Sometimes even steam engines need a bit of assistance in tackling it.
Always a sad sight at the end of any show.
Goodbye Steam Fair; it's been fun!