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Diary Article No 16 Annual Open Day

The annual “Open Day,” is essentially “A meet and greet day,” to publicise and promote the centre as well as showcasing some of the typical activities that “Team Members,” take part in, although it is used as a bit of a fundraiser as well. The local Lady Mayoress and her two escorts opened the day’s events this year.

After yet another success last year the centre decided to try and do things a little different this time, so two tents, or small marquees, were erected near to the café where most people would see them. One had recently been donated by someone who had bought it off Ebay and then didn’t want it and the other they already had. Using one of the marquees for the sale of cakes reduced the pressure on the café no end making it a much more pleasant day for everyone involved. The other tent was used as a sort of petting area for some of the Chickens that were held in a coral made of bales of hay. Things of interest for the youngsters included the puppet display and the police van. For the grown ups there was the usual bulbs sales table, raffle, bric-a-brac and various demos in and around the Acorns centre the same as last year. The Barbecue situated in the yard and the cakes tent did very well, as did most of the stalls, mainly thanks to the weather that although was not as good as last year, was reasonable enough, even if it was a little cool at times. It was certainly better weather than the downpour that they were blessed with on the Spring Plant Sales Day!

The recent run of good weather throughout much of the growing season had produced a bumper crop of Runner Beans, Courgettes, Spring Onions, Potatoes, Damsons and flowers that were all sold from a new produce stall with great success. Another new display was put on by myself, but not with the success I had hoped for although the actual overall sales of my goods wasn’t too bad and was better than my efforts last year. Previously it had been a last minute idea, but this time we were better prepared. This year I put on a much bigger and better display of my books that were sold at a reduced price with all the proceeds being donated to the charity. Mom took quite a few soft toys that were made up from patterns in her knitting book to try and sell some of them and they certainly helped sell the books. Also in the greenhouse we were trying to sell some tubs of liquid fertilizer and gardening odds and ends that had been donated.

Our sales pitch was situated in a smallish greenhouse at the far end of site, so we were a little out of it, but we still saw lots of people and sold quite a lot of books along with a few other bits. My mother manned the inside of the greenhouse in the shelter from the weather as at 91 she is entitled to a little cosseting while I manned the outside display area. Some time ago I had suggested to the centre manager that I would like to put on a display of some of my surplus fruit and ornamental trees that I had grown. They included things like Asian Pears, Sweet Chestnuts, Rowans, Laburnums and Figs. At only £5 each I had hoped to raise quite a sum for them, but ended up selling only a few. However, we did create much interest with the two punnets of fresh figs that had been picked earlier from the tree at home. The Figs proved a real talking point with many people never having seen them before at all. One or two decided to take them home to eat, but most ate them there and then getting very sticky in the process! The sweet and juicy Figs certainly helped sell the fig trees and a few of the “Pine Berries,” or white strawberries sold as well. However, it wasn’t really supposed to be a sales day and I consoled myself with the fact that most people hadn’t gone there in a plant buying frame of mind. When the Spring plant day comes around again the trees will be that much bigger and more impressive, so perhaps we can hope to sell more of them then. By then I should also have more mature plants of things that are growing on now, giving me even more varieties to sell including Kiwis and Grape Vines. Before then though, we have the Christmas Gifts Day to look forward to in December. 

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