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Seasonal shoppers brave the gales at Creake Abbey Gift Fair



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Norfolk is renowned for its lazy cold north wind – lazy because it goes straight through you instead of going around.

And, despite a sheltering line of trees, the gale still cut right through visitors to Creake Abbey’s annual Gift Fair on Saturday.

But Norfolk folk are hardy and in the first hour no fewer than 400 cars turned into the car park – as many as would be anticipated on a mild late autumn day with the sun shining.

One of several barns sheltering Gift Fair customers (53409673)
One of several barns sheltering Gift Fair customers (53409673)

Creake Abbey owner, Diana Brocklebank-Fowler, had only one word for her faithful customers: “Fantastic,” she said.

Because of the Met Office weather warning the lay-out plan had been turned around at the last minute to ensure that all 70 stalls could be housed in several barns.

However, around 20 still chose to erect gazebos and all but one defeated the elements.

Some of the twenty stall holders who bravely challenged the north wind to blow them away (53409682)
Some of the twenty stall holders who bravely challenged the north wind to blow them away (53409682)

An early arrival nearly becoming an unexpected attraction as a hot air balloon until properly weighted down.

But it was an event that really gave meaning to the phrase: shop early for Christmas, as the weather deteriorated after midday.

By then gift choices had been realised and customers were lugging their purchased back to their cars and home.

One popular stall was FireFly Designs, from Spalding, run by Mandy North and Ruth Wale.

FireFly Designs jewellery sparkled like glow worms (53409689)
FireFly Designs jewellery sparkled like glow worms (53409689)

Glittering pin-points of light like real fireflies drew customers to their wide range of handmade jewellery.

Richard Clarke, of Cape Vanilla, sells all things South African including bird feeders made out of empty decorated Ostrich shells that once held no embryo chicks.

Also among his many items from half the world away were re-cycled tea-bags made into table coasters. Who says you can’t use a tea-bag more than once?

Back to mother for food. Richard Clarke and his South African Ostrich shell bird feeders (53409686)
Back to mother for food. Richard Clarke and his South African Ostrich shell bird feeders (53409686)

Also keen to re-cycle were Brian and Linda Slaytor of Driftwood Birds.

Parts of trees, on which some birds might once have perched, have been carved by Brian and painted by Linda have been turned into many sea-, coastline and inland birds such as long-beaked Godwits and Curlews and even neck-entwined love birds, collared doves.

With so many craftspeople offering their wares the scope for innovative Christmas presents and unusual gifts left many spoilt for choice.

Brian and Linda Slaytor of Driftwood Birds who recycle their sea-shore material into attractive birds (53409679)
Brian and Linda Slaytor of Driftwood Birds who recycle their sea-shore material into attractive birds (53409679)

“So many stalls, so little time,” one customer was heard to remark aloud.

“I’m really pleased to have been able to put the event on as so many local events sadly had to be cancelled,” said Mrs Brocklebank-Fowler.

Beth Cork, of Norfolk Raider Cider, did a roaring business (53409692)
Beth Cork, of Norfolk Raider Cider, did a roaring business (53409692)
Mice galore from Emma Martin of Snettisham-based Presenceboutique (53409676)
Mice galore from Emma Martin of Snettisham-based Presenceboutique (53409676)


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